WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce and Ben Ray Luján announced federal funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce for economic development projects at the Village of Questa and New Mexico State University.
The Village of Questa will receive $1.2 million in matching funds to expand the Business Park and improve the roadways, drainage system, water and sanitary sewer, signage, parking, roadway lighting, and utilities connections in the area. Once completed, the project will help current and prospective tenants expand their businesses to increase private investment, create jobs, and support the local economy.
New Mexico State University will receive $300,000 to establish the Arrowhead Innovation Fund (AIF), which invests in companies representing established and emerging regional innovation clusters that build on the strengths and assets of New Mexico and NMSU, including bioscience, the energy-water-agriculture nexus, health technology, and digital media. AIF will operate and recruit final investors for an existing fund, found and launch a new fund, and strengthen regional innovation clusters.
"It is critical that we help New Mexico entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground so they can create jobs and keep our economy moving forward by investing in projects like the Village of Questa's Business Park and NMSU's Arrowhead Innovation Fund," Udall said. "Communities like the Village of Questa are driving their local economies by creating business-friendly environments and helping their entrepreneurs thrive. And thanks to innovation at NMSU and throughout the state, New Mexico is leading the way in channeling research and technology into economic drivers. As a member of the Senate Appropriations and Commerce committees, I will keep fighting for investments that help our entrepreneurs focus on growing their businesses, create jobs, and stimulate our local economies."
“Investments that support innovation and entrepreneurship are critical to ensuring that our economy can grow and thrive,” Heinrich said. “By providing funds to Village of Questa’s Business Park and NMSU’s Arrowhead Innovation Fund we are strengthening New Mexico’s ability to attract business and develop future business leaders, while boosting local economies.”
“A greater investment in New Mexico’s infrastructure projects, businesses, and education system means greater opportunities to diversify our economy and attract more jobs to the state,” Pearce said. "NMSU plays a major role in our state’s technological modernization. I remain committed to encouraging more investments for communities and industries around New Mexico to increase revenues that help hospitals, teachers, small businesses, and families succeed.”
“Business parks in New Mexico help boost local economic development and job growth,” Luján said. “The expansion of the Village of Questa’s business park will ensure companies who are looking to expand or relocate are provided with needed infrastructure. These grants also allow the village to attract new business prospects and grow the economy in northern New Mexico.”
The funding comes as part of the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration, an agency proposed for elimination in President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget. Bipartisan legislation approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this year and the FY 2018 Appropriations package passed by the House of Representatives this month would continue to fund this important agency.