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It’s North Against the South

No, I’m not talking about the Wilson versus Pearce match up to win the GOP primary for Senator Domenici’s seat. What I am talking about is the little train versus space funding fight (subscription) that is sure to dominate discussions during this upcoming legislative session:

“The train is nothing but a local issue, and it helps two of the wealthiest counties. Why is the rest of the state subsidizing them?” asked Rawson, who added that the spaceport “absolutely is a statewide project.”

Hmm… You know, the man has point. I don’t think that anyone in their right mind could argue that a train that only goes from Los Lunas to Santa Fe (eventually) could be a seen as benefiting the whole state. After all, we’re only talking about a VERY small number of riders in just four of New Mexico’s thirty-three counties. Yup, any sane and rationale person would have to deduct that this is a local issue…

But the southern New Mexico lawmakers will confront powerful opposition, including from House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Santa Fe.

Lujan has the opposite take on the matter. He said Thursday that it is appropriate to ask local voters to share a portion of the financial burden for the spaceport because it will affect mainly that region.

“The Rail Runner benefits the whole state,” Lujan said.

So, much for sane and rationale leaders in New Mexico politics. Speaker Lujan’s comments are sure to leave more than a few people just a little bit confused. After all, Speaker Lujan is saying that Spaceport America is a local issue, but I could of sworn when we were sold this bill of goods by one Presidential candidate it was a very different story:

In announcing the partnership, [Governor Bill] Richardson emphasized that New Mexico wants to be on the ground floor of public space travel. He said that today’s announcement will “change the face of the state and change the face of the world.”

Well, that doesn’t sound like a regional issue, does it? But, wait it gets better. Speaker Lujan’s money quote of the week:

[House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Santa Fe] added that requiring local support in the form of local tax revenue for the spaceport was necessary to pass the legislation in 2006.

“When you make a deal, you need to stick to it,” Lujan said.

As I recall, the original deal for Governor’s train project promised it wouldn’t take away from road funding. I guess what’s true for the goose is not true for the gander.