picture of Pete

Public Infrastructure

  • If we want this state to have a healthy economy, we have to have healthy public infrastructure: roads, public transportation, utilities, communications networks. Entrepreneurs starting new businesses will not stay here if the lack of such things impedes business growth. More people will choose to live here if public services and facilities are good and well-maintained. Tourists will stay longer if it is convenient to visit our attractions.
  • Maintaining infrastructure, much less building new infrastructure, is a substantial and continuing expense. Well-planned investments in infrastructure and economic development will create new jobs and private investment, broadening the tax base to support a growing economy. It is not government's role to guarantee profits for anyone, but it is appropriate for government to support a stable environment where businesses can expect to earn a fair return on their investment.
    The gasoline tax to pay for maintaining our roads has not been increased in many years, so inflation has considerably reduced our ability to maintain roads. The gasoline tax is specifically tied to clear public needs such as this. An increase of ten or fifteen cents per gallon would still allow gasoline to be sold at a price much lower than ten years ago, when oil was over $100 a barrel. Putting some gasoline tax money into paving the last few miles of scenic highway 126, from Cuba to Jemez Springs and the Valles Caldera, would make it easier to get around our District and boost our local tourist economy.
  • I am proud of the support Los Alamos has put into our local bus system, Atomic City Transit, and into the regional transit system, NCRTD (the Blue Buses). Local and state money invested in public transit is matched by federal tax dollars, bringing back federal taxes we’ve paid into the local economy. Roads should be planned to accommodate peak automobile traffic loads, but make room for all the alternate forms of transportation including public transit, walking and bicycling.
    High-capacity community broadband throughout the District is a must for a 21st century economy, but we need to keep watching for technological developments that will make it less expensive. In Los Alamos we are making sure that every time our utility department opens up a large trench for utility work, we lay down some conduit so that we'll build up over time the network we need to offer broadband. When private industry is ready to use that conduit, we can offer to share the cost and we can share the benefits. Los Alamos County, as a partner in the REDI Net local government/tribal consortium, is also negotiating to get higher capacity data lines connected. In general, we should aim at the public contribution being "seed money" to get projects started, and avoid as much as possible long-term public subsidies, when private investment should step in.