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State spurs job-saving development

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By Antoinette Vigil

Roswell officials knew the city needed a new railroad spur if it hoped to save jobs in local industries dependent on rail shipping and to stimulate job creation in emerging industries. Occasional derailments underscored the risk of using the old Burlington Northern tracks, which didn’t meet the weight and gauge requirements of modern railroad cars.
But building industrial infrastructure is expensive — more than the city, the railroad, or the rail-dependent businesses could afford on their own.
So the city launched a public-private partnership to upgrade and modernize the rail spur in a way that benefits the entire community and allows more public access to the privately owned tracks.
Empowered by New Mexico’s Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) and the availability of funds appropriated to the New Mexico Economic Development Department for the LEDA-Capital Outlay program, the city submitted an application requesting $100,000 for the project and matched that amount with city funds. It also engaged Xcel Energy and Southwestern Railroad to contribute $70,000 in labor to repair and expand the city’s tracks.
The result is a modernized facility that city officials are confident will raise Roswell’s profile as a regional hub for rail shipping.


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