Mayor Del Jurney, left, greets Martinez at the Roswell Rail Yard, Wednesday, as Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Jon Barela looks on.
ROSWELL—Gov. Susana Martinez and Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Jon Barela participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly-expanded Roswell Rail Spur.
Last year, the New Mexico Economic Development Department awarded $99,000 in Local Economic Development Act funds for the repair and expansion of the tracks. The city of Roswell contributed $101,000 in matching funds and $70,000 of in-kind services were donated by Xcel Energy and Southwestern Rail Road to complete the project. This helped save 17 jobs, create two, and will lead to potential creation of new jobs as the new spur will allow for private access of the tracks for the loading and unloading of goods.
“This project was a great effort between the state, the city of Roswell and the private sector to come together to address the need to improve the Rowell Rail Spur,” Martinez said. “I am pleased with how we were able to use capital outlay dollars through the Economic Development Department to not only save and create jobs but add a unique asset to the rail yard by creating public access which will be a wonderful selling point when recruiting businesses to the area.”
LEDA funding administered through the Economic Development Department is allocated to local governments for infrastructure tied to direct job creation. In the 2013 Legislative Session, Martinez and Barela supported increasing funding for the LEDA program and the department was appropriated $3.3 million in LEDA for future projects around the state.
“Having good transportation lines for the manufacturing, agriculture and logistics industries are important for business recruitment and expansion,” Barela said. “This is a good investment for the New Mexico, I look forward to the growth in this area because of the rail improvements.”
In addition to adding 800 feet of additional space for public access, which is the only public access availability in within 800 miles, the track was upgraded with improved rail. Previously, the rail was too light for the newer engines causing derailments.
Without the improvements at the rail yard, Nu-Mex Plastics would not have been able to operate at current capacity and would have had to let 17 employees go and Roswell Lumber and R-L-C Logistics would not have been able to move forward with their expansion and the creation of two jobs.