Gov. signs housing, infrastructure bills

Photo courtesy HUD

by Bradley Eversgerd

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday signed several bills promising a $125 million investment in housing and infrastructure projects.

“These bills are going to make a huge difference in the state’s ability to take advantage of every dollar when it comes to infrastructure opportunities,” Lujan Grisham said.

Housing prices are up significantly. Chart courtesy HUD.

HB 195 expand’s the state’s ability to support affordable housing projects. It passed with bipartisan support.

The change “creates a renewed sense of possibility for New Mexico’s working families, by supporting the development of housing that is actually affordable,” said lead sponsor Rep. Linda Serrato, D-Santa Fe.

New Mexico has a tight housing market right now, with a 23% decrease in home sales tied to higher mortgage rates, according to an analysis by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

As of March 2023, Albuquerque had 1.3 months worth of homes for sale—meaning that if no new houses were built, the city would run out of homes to buy in just over a month. By comparison, Albuquerque hd 5.6 months worth of housing stock in March of 2015. 

“New Mexico has a deficit of 40,000 homes right now,” said co-sponsor Sen. Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque. “This legislation will help facilitate massive building projects, provide $125 million in new funding for infrastructure for these purposes, and can potentially bring down the cost of affordable and workforce housing units across the state.” 

House Bill 177, creates the New Mexico Match Fund, designed to help state, local and tribal governments applying for federal grants that require matching funds. It passed the House and Senate unanimously. 

The bill was paired with a $100 million appropriation from the budget.

“House Bill 177 unlocks billions in federal dollars to support statewide infrastructure and rural development projects that will pay dividends for decades to come,” said lead sponsor Rep. Meredith Dixon, D-Albuquerque. “This matching fund will be transformational for New Mexico, allowing us to improve our roads and strengthen our communities while creating good-paying jobs along the way.”

Gov. Lujan Grisham also signed HB 232, which will create a new office tasked with streamlining infrastructure projects, especially in rural communities. It was sponsored by Albuquerque Reps. Meredith Dixon, Gail Armstrong, and Dayan Hochman-Vigil.