New Mexico’s Misplaced Priorities

Governor Richardson wants the Senate to come back to Santa Fe in part to pass his transportation plan known as GRIP II. While roads are certainly something that even advocates of the most limited of governments can get behind, the episode illustrates some particular flaws associated with politically-driven transportation planning.
Among the items contained in GRIP II is $25 million for the proposed Spaceport for which taxpayer subsidies are already being used. Thankfully, Albuquerque Senator Joe Carraro has said he will vote for the bill only if money is included for improvements to the clogged I-25/Paseo del Norte juncture (subscription required).
I’m not trying to be Albuqueque-centric here; I’m sure there are dozens of transportation projects in cities throughout the state that should be higher priorities than additional subsidies for the multi-millionaire’s who want to go launch their rockets, but I drive the I-25/Paseo corridor on a regular basis and can assure you that something should be done.
Unfortunately, we have a socialized transportation system (how else do you explain the RailRunner) that could use a good dose of market forces in order to better allocate resources. The folks at the Reason Foundation have been beating the drum for such reforms for years and have some really great research on how to bring the free market to transportation.