WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), along with U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) hailed over $6.9 million in Department of Transportation (DoT) grants to streamline new construction and improve safety at the Santa Teresa industrial park and on the Southwest Chief rail line.
Doña Ana County will use the grant to manage the expanded traffic at the Santa Teresa industrial parks, financing the engineering and federal environmental review process for a grade-separated overpass over the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) line, at the northern entrance of the two industrial parks.
Amtrak will use the DoT funding to improve safety and infrastructure on the Southwest Chief route between Lamy and Albuquerque.
“It’s critical that New Mexico has first-rate infrastructure to lay the groundwork for strong economic growth,” said Udall, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations and Commerce, Science and Transportation Committees. “As a border state, New Mexico has a great opportunity to maximize commerce in Santa Teresa. And rail lines like the Southwest Chief link communities across our state and nation. That’s why I have always worked hard to make sure New Mexico communities have access to the infrastructure funding they need to support local economies and I will continue to fight in Washington for critical funding for all New Mexicans.”
"Investing in New Mexico's rail infrastructure is vital to our economic recovery and future growth opportunities," said Heinrich. “As our state continues to grow as an international trade center, Santa Teresa has tapped into the potential of our border region’s unique binational economy to create jobs and tremendous new opportunities for businesses in Southern New Mexico. I have also fought time and time again to keep the Southwest Chief’s passenger rail service through New Mexico up and running. I will continue fighting to protect this essential service for our communities and ensure the long-term viability of the route. I will keep doing everything I can to secure forward-looking infrastructure investments like this in every corner of our state."
“As New Mexico recovers from the financial fallout of COVID-19, federal investments will play a key role in putting us on the path to economic growth. This grant funding will better connect an important business corridor near our border as well as improve reliability and passenger safety on the Southwest Chief rail line, which transports hundreds of New Mexicans and visitors every day,” said Luján. “I will continue working to bring additional federal dollars to New Mexico to address our infrastructure needs and to support our local economies.”
“Connecting small communities in New Mexico to the rest of the state and country can spur economic growth, but there are areas in New Mexico that don’t have the resources to fully fund transportation and infrastructure projects. The Southwest Chief is a lifeline for people and businesses who travel by train to see their doctor and connect with New Mexico’s major economic hubs, and the Santa Teresa Industrial Park has the potential to connect New Mexico entrepreneurs to international markets. These federal grants will make sure our communities have the tools to bolster local businesses, tourism, and New Mexico’s economy as a whole,” said Haaland.
“Despite challenges from COVID-19, we’ve seen border communities like Santa Teresa drive economic growth and recovery in southern New Mexico. This timely investment will help ensure our infrastructure at Santa Teresa Industrial Park is safe and secure, in addition to managing increased traffic,” said Torres Small. “Trade at our southern border continues to strengthen our state’s economy, and it’s a priority of mine to secure the necessary investments and resources to facilitate trade while also keeping New Mexicans safe.”
A full breakdown of the $6,949,610 DoT Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant Program funds is below:
-County of Doña Ana, $1,320,000 for preliminary engineering and federal environmental review for a grade-separated overpass over the Union Pacific Railroad line at the northern entrance of two industrial parks in Santa Teresa, N.M.
-Amtrak, $5,629,610 for infrastructure and safety improvements on the route of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief between Trinidad, Colorado and control point Madrid, located between Lamy and Albuquerque, New Mexico.