U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich announced that the Santa Teresa border area will receive $400,000 to develop a strategic plan to improve transportation infrastructure. Udall and Heinrich have championed Santa Teresa's growth, including fighting to restore vehicle crossing hours and supporting $10 million in federal funding to upgrade the crossing.
The senators advocated for the New Mexico Department of Transportation's application for the grant, which was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation's highly competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grant program. TIGER grants seek to invest in transportation projects that will significantly benefit the livelihood of communities on the regional, state and national level. In April, the New Mexico Congressional Delegation wrote a letter to DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx in support of NMDOT's application, indicating that the project was a top priority for the NMDOT, and an opportunity to strategically address the transportation needs of Southern New Mexico's border area.
"These dollars will help ensure that residents of New Mexico's border communities can get to the jobs created by the growth spurred by the port, ensuring that workers have a reliable way to commute to work each day," Udall said. "This investment in the Santa Teresa area will help to address immediate transportation needs, as well as to lay out a plan for continued improvements that will support future growth and jobs. I will continue to fight for resources to make smart investments in New Mexico's infrastructure that will pay off for hard-working New Mexicans and their families."
"New Mexico's border region bolsters our state's economy," Heinrich said. "This investment will help better manage regional transportation, ease congestion, and support a more coordinated transit network for workers attracted to the expanding job centers in Santa Teresa. As our state continues to grow as an international trade center, the Santa Teresa Port of Entry will be key in sustaining the diversity of our economy. I will keep working to secure these kind of federal grants that help our border communities in New Mexico prosper from their unique bi-national culture and economy."
Given the increasing economic development and employment opportunities in the Santa Teresa border area, the awarded funding will provide residents with expanded transportation options to commute to work, and help the NMDOT to quickly establish a strategy to address the community's transportations needs both in the short term and the future.
The Santa Teresa project was one of 72 transportation projects selected to receive a 2014 TIGER grant from a pool of 797 applications from around the county.
Due to a great need for infrastructure investments nationally, there has been significant demand for the TIGER grants since the program's authorization in 2009.