In the legislative hopper with more attention-grabbing bills is one that’s a cry for help. Rep. Bobby Gonzales, D-Taos, is carrying a bill that’s the equivalent of a suicide mission. In an election year for House members, Gonzales wants to raise fuel taxes to fund 10 major road projects, knowing well that even if it passes, the governor won’t sign it.
Why? Because we’re approaching a point of no return. Our roads are falling apart. The state Department of Transportation has been patching, patching, patching, but that only goes so far.
To some readers, who have nice new roads, this may come as a surprise. But to Gonzales, who sees new deterioration in the road to Taos every time he drives home from Santa Fe, it’s becoming a crisis.
I’ve listened to three transportation hearings this session and the message is alarming.
Last week, Transportation Secretary-designate Tom Church told the Senate Transportation and Corporations Committee that the DOT road fund, supported by fuel taxes, is down by $5.9 million since last year. Blame the economy, which isn’t as strong as we’d like, and blame efficient cars, which don’t consume fuel like they used to.