—JOSHUA MADALENA, CHAIRMAN, SANDOVAL COUNTY COMMISSION
It’s no surprise that studies by economic gurus and national
think tanks show that collaboration is key to sparking economic
growth. After all, we learned as children on neighborhood playgrounds
the importance of teamwork and partnership with others.
I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to meet with about 350 people
attending the annual meeting of the Rio Rancho Economic Development
Corporation (RREDC), the not-for-profit group that works to strengthen
the economy of Sandoval County and Rio Rancho. The theme of this
year’s event was “Investing in Innovation.” The
meeting’s keynote speaker, Mary Jo Waits of the Pew Center
on the States, cited economic research showing how our nation’s
economy is evolving to focus on innovation. Our nation’s first
hundred years, she said, were about building large, efficient farms,
while the second hundred years were about building efficient factories.
Looking ahead, our third century will be about ideas.
Research shows collaboration through partnerships and networks
is vital to successfully move innovative ideas, talent, and money
toward achieving economic growth as measured by productivity, prosperity,
I was honored to be asked to speak to the hundreds of business
leaders at the annual event. They are the professionals who help
our businesses thrive, our economy grow, and our workers find needed,
well-paying jobs. As I told the group during my remarks, the entire
Sandoval County Commission applauds and supports their efforts.
I shared with them some of the exciting projects Sandoval County
is pursuing to improve our County’s economic wellbeing and
enhance the lives of residents. And, it’s no accident that
the County’s innovations are deeply rooted in close working
partnerships with other government entities, private enterprises,
and local groups.
The County’s desalination project in the Rio Puerco Valley
is one of the major projects that has the potential to carry huge
benefits and offer great promise to help meet our area’s water
needs far into the future. Our two deep-aquifer wells have produced
water that is about one-third the salinity of sea water—a
relatively low level that allows the brackish water to be economically
purified into drinking water by using proven desalination technology.
While hydrologists’ estimates show adequate supplies may
exist in the Rio Puerco Valley to satisfy the water needs of many
generations to come, the County will soon start a thirty-day drawdown
pumping test that will delineate the aquifer’s capacity.
Sandoval County also is moving forward on our broadband project.
The County Commission just a few weeks ago approved finalizing a
contract to complete construction of the broadband infrastructure
to achieve our goal to bring high-speed, wide-bandwidth Internet
access to all areas of the County. By eliminating the technological
“haves-and-have-nots” divide that restricts broadband
availability to larger, compact areas in other parts of the nation,
Sandoval County residents will have access to the enhanced educational
and medical services available from high-speed bandwidth.
And, as I told the RREDC’s annual meeting, the Commission
is also working on several ways to help ease the nightmarish traffic
in much of our County. We recently extended service on the Sandoval
Easy Express (SEE) commuter bus service to the Cuba area as a travel
option for residents commuting to jobs, schools, or other appointments
in other parts of the County and beyond. Service on the SEE was
launched less than a year ago with routes along the Jemez and I-25
We also are proceeding on the Northwest Loop Road, a project that
ultimately will link
I-25 via US 550 and I-40. The project has been years in the planning
and includes partnerships at both the state and federal levels,
as well as with local landowners along the proposed roadway west
of Rio Rancho.
Questions or comments for Commissioner Madalena can be mailed to
him in care of Sandoval County Administrative Offices, PO Box 40,
Bernalillo, NM 87004.