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The New Mexico Legislature approved a $9.6 billion state budget earlier this year that includes “more than $1 billion in direct spending on needed local infrastructure projects of all kinds,” Lt. Gov. Howie Morales told the 2023 New Mexico Transportation and Construction Conference (NM TransCon) April 12 at the Las Cruces Convention Center.
The legislative session was a productive one, Morales said, but “as a nation and as a region, we still need a lot more focus and resources on all our infrastructure – roads, rails and bridges included – and we should start now.”
Morales, a former Silver City state senator and NMSU graduate, said it was “an honor to join (with) so many distinguished leaders in transportation, construction, engineering, education and aerospace in our state. You work on some of the most complex issues imaginable, that are incredibly important to the future and to the fabric of our communities.”
New Mexico Sec. of Transportation Ricky Serna also spoke at the conference, along with Allie Kelly, executive director of The Ray, a nonprofit that has built “the nation’s only publicly accessible, living laboratory for transportation innovation,” NMSU said in a news release.
NM TransCon was hosted by the NMSU College of Engineering in collaboration with the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), American Planning Association‐New Mexico, American Society of Civil Engineers‐New Mexico Section, Associated Contractors of New Mexico, American Council of Engineering Companies‐New Mexico and the Federal Highway Administration‐New Mexico Division.
The conference “included a technical program with four plenary sessions and 13 concurrent sessions, organized by leaders of the industry for industry professionals to stay up to date with trends and cutting-edge technologies in civil infrastructure,” NMSU said. 500 attendees and 37 sponsorships and vendors were expected to attend and participate, NMSU said.
Topics of conference tracks included transportation research, carbon reduction, bridge improvements, smart technologies in transportation, the construction industry, transportation infrastructure, funding for tomorrow’s infrastructure and transportation master planning, a panel discussion moderated by Las Cruces International Airport Administrator Andy Hume.
Speakers also included five NMSU students, including three Ph.D. candidates, who are Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program award recipients.