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JOSHUA MADALENACounty line

—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, and vitality.

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 corridors.

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.

 

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