PRESS RELEASE - February 13, 2004
Office of The Governor
Capitol Bldg., 4th Floor
Santa Fe, NM 87503

Gilbert Gallegos
(505) 476-2217

Governor Bill Richardson, legislators reach agreement on paying for capital projects

SANTA FE - Governor Bill Richardson joined legislative leaders to announce a new, more efficient process to pay for capital projects across the state.

Governor Richardson delivered the following remarks during a news conference today:

I said when I announced my intention to reform our capital outlay process that I wanted to work with legislators to set priorities for all of our capital outlay money.

My goals were straightforward: Develop a comprehensive plan to pay for critical projects across New Mexico. These projects should be prioritized and managed more effectively and more efficiently.

This was never about turf or power. This is about smart economic development. This is about improving our quality of life. Above all else, this is about being prudent with taxpayer money.

I’m pleased to be here today with the legislative leadership to announce an agreement that we developed together to change the way we prioritize capital projects in New Mexico.

Starting today, we’ll evaluate capital projects based on the following statewide priorities:

1. Public Schools
2. Water Resources
3. Higher Education
4. Local Community Development, including roads
5. State Facilities

The big difference is we’ll work together to establish these priorities at the front-end, rather than the haphazard process used in the past.

We are no longer paying for small community projects with bonds that last longer than the lifetime of the project. Here’s how:

1. Most bonded projects must now have a value of at least $50,000. There will be some exceptions.
2. We will pay for smaller projects using one-time, general-fund revenue.
3. And we will ensure that projects must start within six months of the bond sale, and must be completed within five years.

In order to improve the administration of the capital program, I will work with the Legislature to form a joint staff working committee. Here’s what the committee will do:

1. Review capital requests and make recommendations to me and to the Legislature prior to the 2005 legislative session.
2. Judge proposals on project readiness, consistency with existing plans, and whether matching funds are available.
3. Verify the constitutionality of proposed projects.

This agreement is consistent with the plan I outlined before the legislative session began. The days of splitting the capital funding pie in thirds - without any real planning or accountability - are over.

I look forward to working with legislators to pay for our state’s priorities. Together, we will continue to move New Mexico forward.