LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg touched down in the Borderland on April 5 to hear from communities on how to improve infrastructure in smaller communities.

Secretary Buttigieg participated in a panel discussion at New Mexico State University to discuss plans and hear from students/community members about what they want to see done. During the panel, Buttigieg spoke about plans to equalize smaller communities like Las Cruces with larger cities in order to receive the same investments.

“Cities, towns, counties of all sizes whether were in Manhattan or whether we’re in Luna County New Mexico are seeing all kinds of the attention we need to succeed,” said Buttigieg.

Emilia Marmorejo was on the discussion panel alongside Buttigieg and was able to voice her concern over lack of accessible transportation in New Mexico. As a native of Hatch, New Mexico she stressed that it needs to be improved if students from other rural counties want to attend universities like NMSU.

“A lot of the communities are spread out, so you have to drive about an hour to reach different towns and were not all centered in one place so it’s really important that all of these communities are seeing them because it’s really easy to forget about them and kind of just leave them to fend for themselves,” said Marmorejo.

Seeing the communities firsthand, Buttigieg said that he can now pinpoint what needs to be done and move forward with improvements.

“There are a lot of communities that are underserved or ignored by federal policy and I know that’s certainly true in the Southwest where the last 30 or 40 years of under investment and infrastructure has hit rural communities and border communities and low income communities and Hispanic communities, really hard and were changing that,” said Buttigieg.

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