New Mexico Critics Say Transportation Projects Suffer as Rail Runs

Criticism of New Mexico's commuter rail system heats up as officials claim Rail Runner starves other transportation projects of funding.

"The administration's $400 million project runs from Belen to Bernalillo and this year is scheduled to extend to Santa Fe. It has become a focal point for bipartisan criticism, with complaints that it won't reduce highway congestion and is gobbling up too much state money, leaving other initiatives underfunded."

"'We have a tiger by the tail, and this thing is just out of control,' said Sen. John Grubesic, a Santa Fe Democrat."

"The state is almost $500 million short of what's needed to pay for highway projects approved four years ago, threatening to delay some of them."

"The administration disputes that there is a connection between Rail Runner spending and the shortfall in highway funding."

"Transportation Secretary Rhonda Faught blames the problem mainly on rising construction costs and lower-than-expected federal revenue."

"But Rail Runner critics say the cities on the train line don't have the population density to justify the expense of the service."

Full Story: Rail Runner is 'out of control'

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