Governor Bill Richardson came to Quay County Friday morning and before he left, the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corporation had a commitment for $1.5 million.
According to representatives of Richardson, the commitment in funding by the governor’s office is part of the governor’s plan to encourage economic development in rural areas of New Mexico like Tucumcari and Quay County.
Ruth Nelson, administrative assistant to the GTEDC said the funds are earmarked for the funding of “railroad infrastructure” in Tucumcari. “It’s to help with the funding of what everyone calls the ‘spur,’” said Nelson.
Nelson said the target money needed to fund the project was $3 million and the commitment for half of that amount makes the goal seem a great deal more achievable.
“We believe we can get that,” said Nelson. “We were not so certain of the $3 million.”
Leo Thrasher, the chairman of the GTEDC, agreed with Nelson regarding the funds coming at the right time for the Economic Development Corporation. “This is definitely a shot in the arm,” said Thrasher. Thrasher said one of the things that could help to draw business and industry is a rail spur and this will be a major help in achieving that goal.
According to Nelson, the Corporation began working on reestablishing rail serviced businesses in Tucumcari in 2000 and after several studies and investigations into the possibilities, it was decided that bringing rail service to Tucumcari was a “priority.”
Nelson said the GTEDC has been in regular contact with New Mexico State Economic Secretary Rick Homans and the commission he heads who has worked with the development corporation and has even forwarded potential recruitment opportunities that requested rail service as a condition for relocating in Tucumcari.
“This will help put us closer to where we want to be,” said Thrasher.