HOUSE BILL 361
54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2019
Cathrynn N. Brown
RELATING TO HIGHWAYS; CREATING THE URGENT NEED HIGHWAY PROJECT FUND; DEFINING URGENT NEED HIGHWAY PROJECTS; REQUIRING A REPORT; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. [NEW MATERIAL] FINDINGS--DEFINITION--URGENT NEED HIGHWAY PROJECT FUND CREATED--DISTRIBUTION--APPROPRIATION.--
A. The legislature finds that the standard highway project planning process is not structured to respond to rapid changes in highway traffic volume due to regional fluctuations in economic growth, population and traffic patterns. The state transportation planning process may take six or more years from conception of a local project to actual construction; however, the traffic volume on a given highway or regional road system may change significantly within one or two years. These rapid changes can create an urgent need for highway safety improvements and relief from traffic congestion.
B. As used in this section, "urgent need highway project" means a project that has not completed the state transportation planning process but would:
(1) increase the safety of a segment of highway that has experienced a thirty percent or greater increase in annual vehicle accidents or traffic fatalities within the three previous fiscal years; or
(2) relieve traffic congestion on a segment of highway where within the last three fiscal years traffic volume has increased beyond the design safety capacity for an average of four hours or more per day for three or more days per week, or where the average commuting time has increased by one-third or more due to an increase in traffic volume.
C. The "urgent need highway project fund" is created in the state treasury. The fund consists of appropriations, donations, interest from investment of the fund and other money distributed to the fund. The department of transportation shall administer the fund and may establish subaccounts for the fund as it deems necessary. Money in the fund is appropriated to the department for expenditure as provided in this section. Disbursement from the fund shall only occur when there is a minimum of six million dollars ($6,000,000) in the fund at the start of a fiscal year. Disbursements from the fund shall be made by warrant of the secretary of finance and administration pursuant to vouchers signed by the secretary of transportation or the secretary's designee. Money in the fund shall not revert at the end of a fiscal year.
D. In a fiscal year in which there is insufficient money for disbursement, money in the urgent need highway project fund shall be invested by the state investment officer as land grant permanent funds are invested pursuant to Chapter 6, Article 8 NMSA 1978. Earnings from investment of the fund shall be credited to the fund.
E. In a fiscal year when there is sufficient money in the urgent need highway project fund for distribution, each state transportation commission district shall be eligible for a disbursement of up to one-sixth of the money in the fund for design and construction of urgent need highway projects. In a fiscal year with a disbursement, each district engineer shall submit a priority list of urgent need highway projects to the secretary of transportation for funding approval.
F. By November 1, 2019 and by November 1 each year thereafter, the department of transportation shall provide a report on the urgent need highway projects in each state transportation commission district, the projected cost for each project and the status of the urgent need highway project fund. SECTION 2. APPROPRIATION.--Sixty million dollars ($60,000,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the urgent need highway project fund for expenditure in fiscal year 2020 and subsequent fiscal years for the purposes of the fund. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of a fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund.
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