On Wednesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced three new positions focused on the federal funding that is coming to the state through the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act that President Joe Biden signed into law this week.
Leading this effort is former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, who will serve as New Mexico’s infrastructure chief strategist.
Lujan Grisham said Chavez is an expert at getting stuff done and knows that, as important as projects like roads, water and bridges are, the infrastructure package is also about jobs and economic efforts. She said he also knows how hard it can be at the local level, particularly in smaller communities that don’t have the administrative resources to put the projects together.
Mike Hamman, the chief engineer and CEO of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District and a member of the Interstate Stream Commission, will be tasked with overseeing the water management effort and Matt Schmit is the advisor to the new Office of Broadband Access and Expansion. Schmit is coming to New Mexico from Illinois, where he has worked as the director of the Office of Broadband.
Chavez and Hamman attended the press conference with Lujan Grisham when she announced the positions.
Hamman said he is looking forward to the challenge and “with challenge comes opportunities and those opportunities are important.”
The federal infrastructure package totals $1.2 trillion, including more than $3.7 billion for projects in New Mexico.
Also on Wednesday, the state Supreme Court ruled against the Lujan Grisham administration and said the Legislature had the authority to appropriate federal relief funds.