Legislators hurriedly passed hundreds of millions of dollars in federal pandemic cash for leftist pet projects during the second special session, such as $10 million to build electric vehicle charging stations and $15 million to the Department of Finance and Administration for “energy-efficient affordable housing.”
But for one Democrat senator, all that spending wasn’t enough to fulfill his wish list of priorities he thinks New Mexico needs.
State Sen. Bill Soules (D-Doña Ana) wants even more investments in social programs, including an expansion of the Public Education Department, which has already been under fire for its overreach in local school boards.
Soules wrote that he wants to “[e]xpand our Public Education Department (and thinking) from K-12 to include the nurturing of future students in the developmental phase of infancy and early childhood. Fully fund prenatal and infant care and services and all early childhood programs for 100 percent of infants.”
He wants to also “[f]und county-based capacity-building centers committed to identifying gaps in the vital services in rural and urban areas. Invest in the community schools model to make every school fully resourced for our most vulnerable students.” It is unclear what exactly he means by “county-based capacity-building centers” for “vulnerable” students, but he doesn’t give a price tag.
But possibly one of the most costly investments Soules imagines be done with federal dollars includes, funding “a bullet train to move consumers from Santa Fe to Las Cruces, plus Mexico and Colorado.”
A bullet train is one of the most expensive investments imaginable. According to Forbes, for Amtrak to create a high-speed rail train in its Northeast Corridor route, it would cost $500 million per mile. Forbes writes, “High-speed rail is the ‘fetch’ of transportation ideas.”
More conservative estimates of $154 million per mile for a bullet train, would mean a price tag of over $34 billion just for a bullet train from Albuquerque to Las Cruces (about 222 miles).
While many leftist legislators propose costly new initiatives for New Mexico, many working families in the state are still struggling to get back on their feet following brutal pandemic lockdowns from scandal-ridden alleged serial groper Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The Governor’s lockdown resulted in at least 40% of small businesses closing and New Mexico remains one of the states still with a high unemployment rate.