A New Era for New Mexico’s Infrastructure: House Bill 232 Unanimously Passed
A Unanimous Vote: House Bill 232 Sails Through
In an encouraging turn of events, New Mexico’s House Bill 232 has garnered unanimous support from its legislators. The bill envisions the creation of the Infrastructure Planning and Development Division within the Department of Finance and Administration. This division aims to address the state’s long-standing issue with its dysfunctional capital outlay system.
The Need for Expert Guidance and Federal Leverage
The state’s infrastructure has long been crying out for a system overhaul. With the new division, communities can expect expert guidance, enabling them to make the most of the state’s resources. Moreover, the division will strive to leverage state funding to secure federal grants, ensuring that projects are not only initiated but completed as well.
Support from Business Groups and the Department of Finance and Administration
House Bill 190, a complementary proposal, is also under debate. This bill seeks to increase private industry involvement in infrastructure projects, such as road construction, electric vehicle charging facilities, and broadband expansion. The goal is to expedite the procurement process and bring about much-needed improvements, particularly in rural areas, more swiftly.
The state Board of Finance would oversee these changes. However, concerns have been raised about potential ‘pay to play’ scenarios due to political contributions. To mitigate this, an amendment has been made to prevent officials who have received campaign donations from a developer from participating in a public-private partnership with that entity.
Despite an attempt to ban unsolicited proposals from developers, the amendment failed. Nonetheless, the overall sentiment towards these bills remains positive, with business groups and the Department of Finance and Administration expressing their support for the much-needed transformation in the state’s infrastructure and capital outlay process.
As of February 13, 2024, the future of New Mexico’s infrastructure seems to be headed towards a more efficient and effective path.