Updated: Wednesday, 13 May 2009, 12:38 AM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 13 May 2009, 12:38 AM MDT
SANTA FE (KRQE) - The state of New Mexico now expects to rake in $3 Billion in federal stimulus money over the next two years, nearly double original estimates, KRQE News 13 has learned.
State dignitaries broke ground Tuesday on one of the first stimulus projects underway in New Mexico. Star Paving won the bid to repave U.S. Highway 84/285 between Pojoaque to Española.
Fred Arellano is one of the construction workers hired for the project.
"I was unemployed for four months," he told News 13. "A lot of people need money and work, so this came at a good time for this area."
The $9 million project means jobs and infrastructure improvements.
Former Gov. Toney Anaya runs the State Office of Recovery and Reinvestment designed specifically to track stimulus money in New Mexico. He said it's a great way to get back into government, but it's a lot of work.
"Without exaggeration 3 or 4 feet of documents every day just having to deal with the bureaucracy," Anaya said.
Despite the bureaucracy, Medicaid money already has started flowing with a two-year estimated total of almost $560 Million.
Another $470 million will go to education over two years with payments set to start in July. Anaya said the rest of the money will start coming fairly soon.
"I'd said within the next one to two months," he said.
You might be able get a piece of it on the New Mexico Office of Recovery and Reinvestment website.
Anyone can actually submit a proposal to get some of the stimulus money although the process is not easy.
For example, a company wanting to install broadband internet access in rural areas has to click on the link to the Department of Agriculture Web site but still may have to go back to the state Web site for more information.
Anaya said it may be even more difficult.
"If you're a newcomer applying now for a program that gets funded through a state agency chances are we'll have to find a different way to get you funded," he said. "We're doing that, too, with federal agencies identifying what funds they have."
Much of the money comes through existing revenue streams like the state Department of Transportation bidding process that Star Paving won for the Pojoaque-Española.
Anaya has a staff of about a dozen. Stimulus money pays him
about $10,000 a month and one other person a bit less. The rest of
the staff members are on loan from other state agencies.