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Comments sought for State Transportation Improvement Program

A semitrailer travels west on United States Highway 82 near Artesia on Feb. 19, 2021. The New Mexico Department of Transportation is seeking public input on how to fund future road projects in New Mexico.

Public comment on how the New Mexico Department of Transportation (DOT) should spend millions of dollars over a four-year period for highway projects in New Mexico is being sought until mid-March.

The Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is a roadmap for DOT, said Francisco Sanchez, DOT District 2 assistant engineer from Roswell.

The STIP is a collaborative state, local, regional, and tribal transportation planning effort, developed by DOT, read a news release from DOT.

More:State seeks comment for State Transportation Improvement Program

Projects included in the STIP are funded with a combination of federal, state and or local funds, the release stated.

“The last couple of years we’ve been really lucky with special state funding, so we’ve been able to program projects in the state with STIP funding. Usually, it’s federal funding,” Sanchez said.

He said DOT is going through an amendment process which delivers a promise to taxpayers to uphold items in the STIP.

An orange construction barrel sits by the roadside on United States Highway 82 near Artesia on Feb. 19, 2021.

“Any changes we make. We have to do it through an amendment and an amendment requires public input,” he said.

Sanchez used an example of cost overruns on certain projects, that doesn’t meet DOT target funding means the projects have to be moved.

“So we make sure we’re informing the public of what’s going on and they provide comment on maybe how that’s going to impact the community. Anything related to that project, that’s what we’re doing right now,” he said.