N.M. Delegation Announces Over $9 Million For Schools, Roads, Emergency Response Services, And Forest Health Projects

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.), Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.), and Gabe Vasquez (D-N.M.) announced a total of $9,588,527 to support public schools, roads, emergency services on national forests and grasslands, and for developing community wildfire protection plans for New Mexico. 

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Secure Rural Schools program. The Secure Rural Schools program provides critical funding for schools, roads, and other municipal services to more than 700 counties across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The bipartisan Infrastructure Law reauthorized Secure Rural Schools through this fiscal year. 

“Our state knows too well the impact wildfires have on rural communities,” said Luján. “That’s why I’m proud to welcome $9.5 million in funding from the Secure Rural Schools program to New Mexico. This investment will help ensure students in rural communities have adequate funding, support emergency services, and develop plans to prevent wildfires. This is an important step to help ensure equal access to education and public services in our rural communities.”  

“Over two decades ago, Congress created the Secure Rural Schools program to help stabilize county budgets despite volatile revenues that historically came from timber on public lands,” said Heinrich, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee.“This program continues to support many communities in New Mexico today – including 22 counties this year – as they invest in their public schools, safer roads, first responders, fire mitigation, and community forestry.  This funding is also an important reminder that our state faces a similar challenge with the volatility of revenues from the fossil fuel industry.  I’m excited to welcome this year’s Secure Rural Schools funding and will continue to work with local leaders as we grow a diversified, clean energy economy that our local governments can rely on far into the future.” 

“Education is fundamental to our kids’ futures,” said Leger Fernández. “This funding will help give kids in our rural communities the resources they need in the classroom so they can continue on the path to a bright future. Moreover, it’ll help our local communities – who continue to heal from the Hermit’s Peak Fire – develop community wildfire protection plans and build roads. I look forward to seeing New Mexico put these dollars to work so that our communities can prosper and kids can focus on being kids.” 

“Our rural students should have equal access to a world-class education and feel safe going to school as New Mexico experiences the drying effects of climate change,” said Stansbury. “I am grateful that this $9 million in U.S. Forest Service funding will boost wildfire prevention and resilience measures around our schools so our students across New Mexico can focus on what they are learning in the classroom.” 

“New Mexico’s rural communities deserve as much support from our federal government as any other community in the state receives – over $9 million dollars in federal funding will make a critical difference in the lives of rural New Mexican children,” said Vasquez. “Supporting these communities’ infrastructure is vitally important and I am proud to see this funding will support roads and other local services that ensures all our communities are set for success.” Full announcement from the USDA.###


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