NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Lawmakers from southeastern New Mexico are asking for a lot of money but not without good reason. They want to fix up dangerous highways.

House Bill 223 is sponsored by representatives from Chaves, Eddy, Lea, and Otero counties. It calls for $650 million to expand and improve busy stretches of Highways 380, 128, and 31.

Backers said the routes have become critical thoroughfares for the oil and gas industry, local agriculture, and tourism.

They explained, right now, the roads are too narrow and poorly maintained to accommodate the traffic needs. The proposal passed its first committee on Thursday.