REGIONAL DELEGATION LOBBIES CONGRESS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING

REGIONAL DELEGATION LOBBIES CONGRESS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING

Doña Ana County Manager Fernando Macias was among seven speakers from Texas, Arizona, California and New Mexico border counties who addressed congressional staff April 11 and 12 in Washington, D.C. to seek additional funding for infrastructure development.
Organized by the North American Development Bank (NAD Bank) and the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission (BECC), the lobbying effort focused on the unique pressures placed on fast-growing border areas as they relate to water systems, wastewater collections and solid-waste programs.
Macias and Norma Gomez and LaSelle Taylor of the Village of Columbus made up the New Mexico delegation. They were joined by Pedro Alvillar, mayor of the Village of Palomas, Mexico.
The New Mexico delegation urged the Congress to increase its support of NAD Bank from $50 million to $100 million in the upcoming fiscal year, and to proportionately increase its support of BECC. The two entities already have invested $2.1 million cash in Doña Ana County, along with untold amounts of in-kind services, such as planning initiatives, technical assistance, financial analysis, affordability planning, multiple-agency coordination and strategic expertise in sustainable regional project development. Macias said, however, that an additional $49 million in projects remains to be funded to serve the wastewater collection needs of the communities of Chaparral, Chamberino and La Union.
Southern New Mexico already has received more than $17 million in colonias-construction funds appropriated by the Congress, matched with $2 million from the State of New Mexico and collectively administered by the New Mexico Environmental Department. As part of that commitment, the Environmental Protection Agency put up $4.6 million for a wastewater treatment in the Santa Teresa area, which is poised to become one of the fastest-growing industrial areas on the entire U.S./Mexico border.
While in Washington, Macias also met personally with Sen. Pete Domenici and Reps. Joe Skeen and Tom Udall. He also met with the staff of Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Rep. Heather Wilson.