I recently spoke to a reporter from an online publication called “New West” about the New Mexico RailRunner. While fiscal conservatives obviously have deep concerns over the financial impact this train is having on the state budget, it doesn’t appear that the train will be stopped unless the budget takes another major downturn and deeper cuts must be made.
Of course, the fact that taxpayers are on the hook for $400 million to build and $20 million annually to operate the train — not to mention another $400 million in maintenance costs every 30 years that are not currently accounted for — makes the Rail Runner a huge subsidy for a relatively small group of workers, most of whom live in Albuquerque and work in Santa Fe.
The real issue at this point is in making sure that efforts to extend the train — discussed in the article — are not successful. Martinez wouldn’t go along with such a scheme, but you can bet that liberals around the state who worship mass transit will be looking for every opportunity to do so.