New Mexico Senate approved Gov. Bill Richardson’s $1.6 billion highway
construction and repair package Wednesday, Nov. 5. The plan includes
$60 million a year in fee and tax increases.
22-18 vote sent the bill back to the House for approval of Senate
amendments before it heads to the governor, The Santa
Fe New Mexican reported.
package includes a hike in the state’s diesel fuel tax from 18 cents
a gallon to 21 cents. The proposal increases vehicle registration
fees by an average of $12.50 per vehicle and includes a 38 percent
increase in the weight-distance tax. It would also require the state
to process overweight permits for truck drivers within 24 hours.
to the Senate’s passage of the bill, Richardson told the newspaper
the increases would mainly affect out-of-state truckers.
think they’re reasonable fee increases,” he said. “These trucks,
out-of-state trucks, are damaging our highways. They’re welcome
here, but they should pay more.”
road projects are proposed in the plan, funded by additional dollars
the bill would generate. Those include:
on I-25 between Santa Fe and Bernalillo;
of the Coors Interchange along I-40 in Albuquerque;
- Adding a third
lane to I-25 in both directions between Albuquerque and Santa Fe;
to four lanes U.S. 64 from Raton to Clayton.