COMMENTARY: Last week a majority of four out the five Doña Ana County commissioners, without explanation, refused to hear a request for funding by the South Central Regional Transit District (SCTRD). They also chose not to hear a presentation that had been prepared by Javier Perea, Mayor of Sunland Park and SCRTD Board chair.
Had they listened to the presentation, they would have heard Mayor Perea explain that the county grant would have provided the local match for a $1,005,465 federally funded Rural Public Transit grant. Over $600,000 of that grant comes from local gas taxes that residents of Doña Ana County pay when they fill their gas tank.
Unfortunately, most of that gas tax will now be returned to the state for projects in other areas.
So, in addition to severely limiting transit options for county residents, the commissioners’ refusal to consider renewed funding will lead to a loss of over $1 million annually that would otherwise have been spent with local businesses, and for local workers engaged in the businesses of the SCRTD.
Over the five years of requested SCRTD funding, this represents millions of dollars collected from Doña Ana County taxpayers that will go to fund projects in other parts of the state.
It’s difficult for our county to get ahead when economic opportunities like this are not even considered.