NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A key push in Biden’s administration has been an investment in infrastructure across the U.S. Now, more than one year after Biden’s infrastructure bill became law, what has New Mexico gotten out of the deal?
New Mexico is slated to get $2.6 billion in federal funding (out of more than $200 billion across the U.S.). And the White House has identified more than 217 individual projects here in the Land of Enchantment, according to the latest documents.
Key projects include transportation-related improvements and road repair. But internet access and water access are also a focus for federal funding. While some of the funding is still pending (and dependent on state agencies), the idea is to put federal dollars to use here in New Mexico.
You’ve probably driven on at least one road in New Mexico that is in need of repair. And a recent Larry Barker investigation revealed a plethora of vital bridges in rural New Mexico that are in particularly bad shape.
The Biden Administration has promised the “single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system,” more than 50 years ago.
As of March 2023, $90 million has been earmarked for New Mexico’s bridges. And more than $980 million has been earmarked for highway repairs, according to the White House.
Many New Mexicans lack stable access to high speed internet. State agencies identified nearly 50,000 homes where students don’t have proper access, and a KRQE News 13 analysis of internet data reveals access is particularly limited in the western portion of the state.
The Biden Administration has promised at least $100 million to improve internet access in New Mexico. The Administration notes that as of March 2023, the federal government has sent New Mexico $5 million via the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program. And there’s a federal program to help make internet more affordable for lower-income residents (click here to see if your household might qualify for discounted internet access.)
The Biden Administration points to a recent award of more than $9 million to expand access to the Pueblo of Santa Clara. The White House says those funds should be able to connect 600 people to the internet via fiber-optic connection.
As all New Mexicans know, access to clean water is the key to survival. Water is already limited, and experts say it’s likely to get worse with climate change.
There’s no magic fix to give New Mexico more water. But the Biden Administration has promised funding to ensure that the water the state does have isn’t contaminated by old pipes.
The Administration has made more than $28 million available via the Environmental Protection Agency in order to replace lead pipes and old service lines. The federal government has also offered $18 million for investments in safe drinking water.
The White House has also promised funding for additional projects. These include funds for flood mitigation, cash for capping abandoned oil and gas wells, and money to improve airports.
For example, the Federal Aviation Administration gave $14 million to the Albuquerque Sunport. Those funds are meant to refurbish passenger bridges and install new lighting.