Wednesday, July 08, 2009

NM Native American Communities to Receive Almost $5 Million for Water Improvements

U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall today announced in a joint press release that six Native American communities in New Mexico will share nearly $5 million for water improvements. Funding comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Environmental Protection Agency and the Indian Health Service.

“This nearly $5 million investment of stimulus funding will be used to improve water infrastructure in six communities in New Mexico. It will create good jobs in the short term, and provide long-lasting quality of life improvements in communities where they are badly needed,” Bingaman said.

“Investing in the essential water infrastructure systems for these tribes will improve public health and help keep these communities clean,” said Udall, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “In addition, we will succeed in creating new construction jobs to complete these needed projects.”

Funds will be distributed as follows:

  • Mescalero Apache Tribe $991,700 for drinking water main improvements
  • Pueblo of Picuris $15,600 for water service line replacements and $989,580 for wastewater treatment improvements
  • Pueblo of Laguna $487,500 for new construction of a waterline
  • Pueblo of Acoma $350,400 for waterline replacement project and $631,250 for a pilot project using waterless toilets
  • Pueblo of Zia $462,500 wastewater system improvements
  • Pueblo of Nambe $1.01 million for wastewater system improvements

July 8, 2009 at 02:58 PM in Native Americans, NM Congressional Delegation, NM Office of Recovery and Reinvestment, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Sen. Tom Udall, Water Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bingaman, Udall, Luján, Richardson Recognize NM’s First Recovery Fund Road Projects

Today, Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, along with Rep. Ben Ray Luján (NM-03), recognized the groundbreaking of the first American Recovery and Reinvestment Act road project in New Mexico. According to a statement released by the trio, state officials will break ground on a project in Española that will reconstruct existing lanes of US 84/285 between mile markers 186 and 188.

“The purpose of the recovery act was to put thousands of New Mexicans to work as quickly as possible. I am very pleased that just three months after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law, we are already seeing its benefits in our state,” Bingaman said. “This is the first of many groundbreakings that will take place in New Mexico because of the recovery act. I am pleased to join in celebrating this one.”

“Investing in the reconstruction of this highway is the perfect example of how the recovery package is intended to work,” said Udall. “Within three short months of its passage, we created construction jobs by reconstructing portions of a highway constantly used by locals and tourists traveling through our northern corridor. This is just the first of many key projects the American Recovery and Reinvestment package has paved the way for in New Mexico.”

“It’s encouraging to see that projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are already getting underway and putting people to work in our communities,” said Rep. Luján. “In the coming months we will see many similar projects that will help rebuild our roads and bridges, and get our economy moving.”

The estimated cost of the project is $7.9 million, and it is expected to be completed in 18 months. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is investing $252.6 million for infrastructure projects in New Mexico, and more than $2 billion total in the state. It is estimated about 22,000 jobs will be created or retained in New Mexico because of the economic recovery package.

Gov. Bill Richardson also released a statement on this project and one other today, as well as the state's future road-building plans. It explained that these projects are the first of nine in New Mexico approved for funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Because of New Mexico’s ongoing comprehensive transportation planning process the state was second in the nation to initiate projects being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“New Mexico was one of only a few states in the country with pre-selected, shovel-ready projects, giving us a great advantage over many larger states,” said Governor Richardson. “We are following a very aggressive schedule to make sure we use every dollar available for road projects, and we are prepared to apply for additional funding if and when it becomes available. More projects are in the works, not just on state highways, but on roads and transit systems in rural communities across New Mexico. Local roads will get much-needed makeovers, bus systems will be improved and airports will be renovated.”

May 12, 2009 at 12:54 PM in Economy, Populism, NM Congressional Delegation, NM Office of Recovery and Reinvestment, Obama Administration, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Sen. Tom Udall | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

NM to Get $58 Million+ in Recovery Funding for Energy Efficiency and Weatherization

NMCongressionalDelegation
U.S. Reps. Heinrich, Teague and Luján

In a joint statement issued today, Congressmen Ben Ray Luján (D, NM-03), Harry Teague (D, NM-02) and Martin Heinrich (D, NM-01) hailed the announcement, by President Obama and The U.S. Department of Energy, of more than $58 million in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for energy efficiency and weatherization. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, New Mexico is set to receive $26,855,604 for the Weatherization Assistance Program and $31,821,000 for the State Energy Program—a total of $58,676,604 for the state. The funding will support common sense efforts to reduce energy consumption and improve energy retention—including installing insulation for homes and businesses and modernizing large appliances such as air conditioners and heating units.

“Improving energy efficiency and weatherizing homes and buildings will save families money, create jobs, and help us move toward energy independence,” said Rep. Luján. “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is already making important investments that will help grow a clean energy economy and help our nation at a time when we need it most.”

“This funding will put people to work, save New Mexicans money on their energy bill, and move us toward energy independence,” said Rep. Heinrich.

“Controlling energy costs and becoming more energy efficient are important steps toward energy independence,” said Rep. Teague. “The weatherization funding and energy efficiency grants provide a fast, cost effective way to give southern New Mexico’s families some relief on their energy bills while creating jobs at a time when our community needs it most.”

According to the White House, the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program allows low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient, reducing heating bills by an average of 32% and overall energy bills by hundreds of dollars per year. The Weatherization Assistance Program will allow an average investment of up to $6,500 per home in energy efficiency upgrades and will be available for families making up to 200% of the federal poverty level – or approximately $44,000 a year for a family of four.

The State Energy Program funding will be available for rebates to consumers for home energy audits or other energy saving improvements, development of renewable energy projects for clean electricity generation and alternative fuels, promotion of Energy Star products, efficiency upgrades for state and local government buildings, as well as for other innovative state efforts to help save families money on their energy bills.

To learn more about programs that benefit New Mexico in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, read the New Mexico Delegation’s Recovery Resource Guide (pdf) or visit the New Mexico’s Recovery Website.

March 12, 2009 at 10:49 AM in Energy, Green Economy, NM Congressional Delegation, NM Office of Recovery and Reinvestment, Obama Administration, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Rep. Harry Teague (NM-02), Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gov. Bill Richardson to Create State Office Headed by Former Gov. Toney Anaya to Marshall Stimulus Funds

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In a statement released today, Governor Bill Richardson announced the creation of the New Mexico Office of Recovery and Reinvestment. The temporary office will oversee spending of the $1.8 billion in federal stimulus money expected to be invested in New Mexico during the next two years.

Governor Richardson appointed former Governor Toney Anaya to lead the office, which will work closely with state agencies to facilitate access to funding, assist with compliance, and promote transparency throughout the process.

“I have put together a team of experts who I can count on to cut through the bureaucracy and red tape that comes along with the stimulus money,” said Governor Richardson in the release. “We need to target this money where it is needed most – creating jobs in New Mexico communities.”

The New Mexico Office of Recovery and Reinvestment will be run by top officials on loan from state agencies directly involved with the federal spending (see below the break). The office will operate under current agency funding and utilize existing office space. Governor Richardson’s Chief of Staff, Brian Condit, and Department of Finance and Administration Secretary Katherine Miller will also work closely with the group.

Website: The Governor also announced the activation of the New Mexico Office of Recovery and Reinvestment Website, www.recovery.state.nm.us. The website features a summary of how the federal stimulus funding will affect New Mexico, links to agencies and programs involved, answers to frequently asked questions, and a form to allow interested businesses or organizations to suggest a project for possible funding.

Accessing Grants: Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish will join an advisory group, led by Governor Richardson’s Science adviser Tom Bowles, that will focus specifically on accessing a share of the billions of dollars available through the competitive grants process. The Lieutenant Governor will work to ensure that rural communities throughout New Mexico will have an opportunity to participate in the process.

“This group will play a key role in helping us arrive at the best strategies to capture federal Recovery funds that are up for grabs to New Mexico – specifically -- through competitive grants,” added Governor Richardson. “Working together, we’ll put our best minds on the job to compete successfully for these funds, and maximize opportunities for all New Mexicans.”

Highway Projects: Governor Richardson also announced that the New Mexico Department of Transportation is prepared to begin work on six highway projects worth more than $106 million, creating 500 new construction jobs. The Governor today signed letters of certification for the projects, a step required by the federal government before the state can access funding for the work.

Three projects have been put out to public bid, and construction will commence by the end of April. Two more projects will be put out to bid on Friday, and the sixth project will be put out next week. Construction on those three projects will start in May. Highway projects soon will be under construction at:

  • US 84/285 between Pojoaque and Espanola (2);
  • US 491 between Tohatchi and Shiprock;
  • US 62/180 between Carlsbad and the Texas State Line;
  • NM 128 between Junction 31 and east of Jal; and
  • I-40 Paseo Del Volcan/West Central Interchange

All of these projects were part of GRIP I, and were passed and approved with the Legislature.

With these projects, New Mexico will be one of the first states in the nation to draw down these critical highway funds, and put them to work to stimulate the economy today.

New Mexico Office of Recovery and Reinvestment

Governor Toney Anaya, Executive Director

Toney Anaya is a former Governor and Attorney General of New Mexico. As Governor, he was known as a visionary with an interest in finances, the economy, education, energy, and the environment who successfully steered his state through a national recession. Current Governor Bill Richardson has publicly given Anaya credit for initiating some Richardson policies, including education reform and a commuter train from central New Mexico north to Santa Fe. As Attorney General, he was recognized for transforming a previously obscure office into a major force in Government.

Dona Cook, Deputy Secretary of the NM Taxation and Revenue Dept.

Ms. Cook has over 25 years of State Government experience, of which 16 of those years have been as deputy cabinet secretary for six cabinets. She also served as State Budget Director. Dona has worked for seven Governors and for the legislature for eight years. She has also been a high school teacher, law firm administrator and vice president and chief operating officer for a subsidiary of a Fortune 100 engineering and construction company.

Bill Dunbar, Deputy Secretary NM Children, Youth, and Families Dept.

Mr. Dunbar has served in various government positions such as, Deputy Director for the Office of Workforce Development, Division Director for Human Services Department- Income Support Division, Consultant for IBM and New Mexico Highlands University. He also worked as a Principal Analyst for the Legislative Finance Committee and as a consultant for the LFC.

Dannette Burch, Deputy Secretary for Budget and Policy NM Dept. of Finance and Administration

Ms. Burch’s experience in accounting, auditing, budgeting and performance-based budgeting are directly in line with what is required to implement ARRA in New Mexico. She has served with DFA for more than 6 years and has directed the development and implementation of policies and procedures to provide professional and coordinated policy development, financial analysis, and fiscal and programmatic oversight on behalf of the taxpayer to the Governor, Legislature and state agencies.

Neil Meoni, Director, Project Oversight and Compliance Division, NM Dept. of Information Technology

Mr. Meoni has an exceptional record as a manager/executive serving in increasing demanding positions within diverse federal and state organizations. He has served as Chief of Staff, Office of the NM Chief Information Officer. In his current position he oversees over sixty state Information Technology projects totaling over $200 million dollars ensuring compliance with state rules, standards, initiatives and strategic plans.

Daryl Schwebach, Deputy Secretary for Finance and Administration, NM Human Services Dept.

Mr. Schwebach has 20 years experience in state budget and financial management, Human Resource management, Information Technology management, and facility management. He currently manages a $4.2 billion budget for the Human Services Department, comprised primarily of Federal Funds from 30 different grants, including Medicaid, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (“SNAP”, formerly known as “Food Stamps.”), and others.

Debra Griego, Division Director, Department of Finance and Administration

Ms. Griego has worked in state government for over twenty seven years in various capacities and for several agencies including the State Engineer’s Office, the General Services Department, and the Department of Finance and Administration. She has vast experience in Budget, Finance, Contracting and Management in State government.

Dr. Thomas Bowles, Science Adviser, Office of Governor Bill Richardson

On assignment from Los Alamos National Laboratory to the Governor's office, Dr. Bowles has advanced development of clean energy technologies in New Mexico, been effective in coordinating science and technology initiatives with our national laboratories, universities, and businesses, and led the development of the state supercomputing center. Prior to working with the Governor’s Office Bowles served at Los Alamos National Lab on the senior executive board as Chief Science Officer and had oversight of all science activities at the laboratory.

March 11, 2009 at 06:46 PM in Economy, Populism, NM Office of Recovery and Reinvestment, Obama Transition | Permalink | Comments (0)