Rail Project Takes Precedence In New Mexico Budget

A commuter rail project in Sante Fe is stressing New Mexico's state transportation budget, causing officials to announce delays on many road and highway projects. But many are upset that the rail plans will move ahead unhindered.

"The state is almost $500 million short of what's needed for highway and transportation projects approved four years ago, and several legislators say the Rail Runner Express is contributing to the financial squeeze."

Lawmakers are "unhappy that the funding shortfall threatens to delay road projects across the state while the $400 million Road Runner commuter rail service moves ahead without a slowdown."

"An additional $495 million is needed for about 90 construction and engineering projects that were approved by the Legislature in 2003. That shortfall is nearly twice as large as what lawmakers were warned about by the department a year ago."

"The rail extension is expected to be completed by the end of 2008. Construction has begun and about 18 miles of track will be built near Santa Fe, with part of it in the median of I-25."

Full Story: Rail Runner strains transportation budget

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