News & Events
GGEDC officials laud U.S. 491 announcement
27 March 2014
By Bernie Dotson | Gallup Independent | Staff writer email@example.com
GALLUP — Patricia Lundstrom, executive director at the Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation, lauded the announcement Tuesday of funding for the four-laning of U.S. Highway 491 during a visit by Gov. Susana Martinez.
“This culminates a successful nine-month effort undertaken by Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation in collaboration with the city of Gallup for the express purpose of stimulating economic growth and job creation in Gallup and McKinley County,” Lundstrom said. “With this announcement, the state of New Mexico has solidified U.S. Highway 491 as the major north-south corridor in northwest New Mexico, and Gallup will be the epicenter.”
Lundstrom, who attended the announcement Tuesday with GGEDC board President Tommy Haws, noted that the completion of U.S. 491, coupled with Interstate Highway 40 and the BNSF railway, provides the transportation assets necessary for the GGEDC to establish Gallup and McKinley County as a major regional transportation and logistics hub, serving consumer and energy markets in the Four Corners area.”
Lundstrom noted that she attended the meetings conducted by the State Transportation Commission — including hosting three breakfast workshops beginning in May 2013 in Gallup and highlighted by Mayor Jackie McKinney’s presentation in Las Cruces in December.
At those meetings, GGEDC and the city of Gallup outlined the economic opportunities available to the city, county and the state as associated with U.S. Highway 491 and the San Juan energy basin.
“We followed the State Transportation Commission all over the state talking about U.S. 491 because there are real opportunities for job creation in Gallup and McKinley County that are associated with its completion,” Haws said. “The city of Gallup, (Mayor Jackie McKinney) and Transportation Commissioner Jackson Gibson were instrumental and deserve recognition for helping to lead the efforts.”
Completion of U.S. Highway 491 is expected to compliment the proposed Gallup Rail and Industrial Park, Lundstrom said.
“The Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation has identified the Gallup Rail and Industrial Park and its connection to the TransCon line of the BNSF infrastructure to represent the highest potential for job-creation,” she said. “The completion of U.S. 491 is absolutely critical to its success.”
Lundstrom said the TRIP report released in January identified the completion of U.S. 491 as the No. 1 transportation project to support economic development in New Mexico. Prior to the announcement Tuesday, the state of New Mexico had already invested about $120 million to complete the fourlaning of U.S. Highway 491, Lundstrom said.