Boy, it sure looks like Governor Richardson is still playing catch up from his one year paid hiatus as Governor. Apparently, someone forgot to tell him the current financial situation of New Mexico roads (subscription):
Gov. Bill Richardson spent Thursday trying to drum up congressional support for New Mexico’s Rail Runner commuter train and remained coy about whether he will endorse a presidential candidate before the state’s caucus on Tuesday.
Richardson said in an interview that he met with Sens. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and asked them to help secure additional federal money for the New Mexico rail project.
The governor said the state is seeking a three-year extension of a federal air quality grant that has funneled $10 million per year to New Mexico for the past two years. That money expires next year.
“We’re committed at the state level to fund it, but we don’t want to have the Rail Runner funds in the future affect our highway funds,” he said. “Getting the federal government to do a little more is one of my objectives on this trip.”
Sorry Governor, you’re a little to late to the game on this one. The Rail Runner has already had a huge negative impact on our our highway funds. And, just how is the state committed to fund it? Hasn’t anyone filled the Governor in on the fact that the state is facing a $4 Billion shortfall?
The president pro tempore of the New Mexico Senate indeed pulled no punches in addressing the attendees at the Association of Commerce and Industry’s business day breakfast in Santa Fe on Jan. 22.
“We’re $4 billion in the hole,” Jennings said of the fiscal challenges facing New Mexico. “But luckily, we have $360 million in new dollars to solve that, so things are looking up.”
Governor Richardson really ought to take a few minutes to visit with the Senator Tim Jennings.
If you ask me, the Governor is looking for funding to cover his fiscal mismanagement of state’s resources for three years. You know, just long enough for him to be long gone from New Mexico and before the the realy big tax increases have to be put into place.