New Mexico’s Transportation Future

All of the controversy over the Rail Runner and its negative impact on our transportation budget is just a sideshow to the very real problems and opportunities facing us when it comes to transportation. You read that right…as one of the leading critics of the Rail Runner, I’m telling you that it is not at the heart of our transportation problems. The problem is the government itself and, unless we reduce the government’s role in making infrastructure decisions, the roads in this state are bound to deteriorate and grow more congested over time.
That said, there are systemic solutions available. Pennsylvania, led by Democrat Ed Rendell, is currently working to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Unfortunately, protectionist sentiment has reared its ugly head and is making things politically difficult. While leasing our infrastructure to “foreigners” may make the blood of some protectionists boil, it actually is a way for the US to allow investors to plow money back into American roads and bridges rather than letting it flee the country. Besides, with the government wasting money on transit and other boondoggles, isn’t it time the private sector made transportation profitable again?
For a more in-depth discussion of the need for public-private partnerships and market forces in transportation, check out a new study by Missouri’s free market think tank.
There are solutions to gridlock. While New Mexico has not been as negatively impacted as Pennsylvania and Missouri, the longer we let the government waste our gas tax revenue, the greater the likelihood of tax hikes in the not-too-distant future. We need to move towards market-based solutions and we need to start by passing legislation to enable public-private-partnerships now.