NM Gov. Susana Martinez signs Union Pacific tax bill in Santa Teresa

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez spoke Tuesday (April 4th) before signing three bills into law. (Victor Calzada / El Paso Times)

With a stroke of a pen, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez on Tuesday started the wheels rolling for a proposed $400 million Union Pacific rail facility in Santa Teresa.

Martinez, appearing in a Santa Teresa warehouse filled with politicians and area business people, signed recently passed state legislation exempting Union Pacific from paying locomotive fuel tax so the railroad company will develop the new facility.

The locomotive fueling station and intermodal freight yard are expected to create 3,000 jobs during four years of construction and bring 600 permanent jobs, Union Pacific officials have said.

Martinez also signed two other pieces of recently passed legislation: One creating a zone around Santa Teresa and Columbus, N.M.,

for overweight cargo trucks, which economic developers say should attract more industrial distribution centers; and another bill to create a border infrastructure fund to make it easier for the New Mexico Border Authority to attract private and public funds for international port of entry improvements.

“As activity increases, Santa Teresa will reap benefits for new commercial and industrial development,” Martinez said. “Today, with the signing of these bills, New Mexico has the opportunity to expand on the possibility of growth.”

Vic Kolenc may be reached at vkolenc@elpasotimes.com, 546-6421.