Barela Points To Southern Border as N.M. Area for Near-Term Economic Growth

Jon Barela, NM Economic Development Secretary

From the Albuquerque Journal
By Winthrop Quigley
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 12:49

The state’s Economic Development Department secretary-designate tells Economic Forum that “lowest hanging fruit” for New Mexico job creation is along the border with Mexico

New Mexico’s near-term economic growth will likely come from its southern border, Jon Barela, Economic Development Department secretary-designate, told the Economic Forum on Wednesday in Albuquerque.

“The lowest hanging fruit for job creation is along the (Mexican) border,” Barela said.
Barela told forum members to expect new business to start up in the Santa Teresa area and more economic development further north thanks to the Spaceport in Upham, east of Truth or Consequences.

To take advantage of border business opportunities, the Martinez/Sanchez administration pushed legislation in the recently concluded legislative session to lower transportation costs for border-based manufacturers and cross-border shippers, he said.

The Legislature voted to eliminate taxes on locomotive fuel for Union Pacific Railroad if it moves a rail hub from El Paso to the Santa Teresa area in southern New Mexico. Barela said the law, once signed by Gov. Susana Martinez, will lead to a $400 million investment by Union Pacific and 600 new permanent jobs. “The spin-off potential from that project, I think, will be tremendous,” he said.

Martinez also expects to sign into law legislation that would exempt overweight vehicles from extra fees if they stay within six miles of the Mexican border, which will allow shippers to move and unload freight less expensively in New Mexico.