NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – One state lawmaker has big dreams for bringing a billion-dollar infrastructure project to the state, even if the reality could be a long way off. Las Cruces Senator Bill Soules admits his high-speed train proposal is a long shot this legislative session. He’s at least hoping to stir up some conversation.
“New Mexico has opportunities with the large influx of money and particularly non-recurring money to spend on infrastructure. We ought to be looking up and out to what we want for our state 20 years out and use that infrastructure money to build towards a different future,” said Senator Soules, “This is just an idea and to do a feasibility study to see whether this would be something that would have economic benefit to the state in the next 20 years.”
Senator Soules introduced the two proposals last year. One is for the introduction of the high-speed train that would run from Denver through New Mexico to Chihuahua, Mexico, going between 150 and 200 miles an hour. The other, which would need to happen first, would launch a feasibility study to see if the train would even be doable.
Senator Soules said it would be a first-of-its-kind train system in the United States, connecting two major metros to New Mexico. Some lawmakers said the state would be better off focusing on its current infrastructure instead.
“There’s a ton of things that we would like to have all across the state, including in my area, but we really have to focus on the things that will really bring up the quality of life for our New Mexico residents and citizens before we start looking at pipe dreams such as this,” said Senator Cliff Pirtle.
Senator Cliff Pirtle said he would like to see tourist dollars spent on people stopping in the state rather than just passing through by train.
The project would require a whole new track. Senator Soules estimates the cost of the track alone would be close $1 million per mile.
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Soules’ proposal calls for $1 billion for the train project, but he said the feasibility study will give a better idea of how much it would actually cost. The study, if lawmakers approve it, would cost $500,000.