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Let’s eavesdrop on a legislative Transportation and Public Works Committee meeting earlier this month.
Rep. Rick Little asked how much it would cost to mothball the New Mexico Rail Runner. “I’m from a county that’s way down south and it doesn’t benefit them one bit. Other counties feel the same way.”
Chris Blewett, of the Rio Metro Regional Transportation District, tried to put the commuter train in perspective. Central New Mexico has one road, I-25, connecting Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Belen and four pueblos.
“It’s not just for today’s conditions but for the future, when you can’t even drive into Santa Fe, he said. Adding a lane would have cost more. As it is, any accident on I-25 bottles it up for hours. “This corridor has 60 percent of the state’s jobs and half the state’s population,” he said.
Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbertson spoke up. She represents Sandoval County, the state’s second fastest growing county.
“If you look at the nation’s transportation system – New York, Chicago, Washington – none of them pay for themselves,” she said. “My area was one of the areas that voted to tax itself (to pay for the Rail Runner). There’s not a parking lot that isn’t full between Belen and Santa Fe.”
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