Paseo del Volcan is a project on the far west side of anything metropolitan about Rio Rancho and Albuquerque. Promoters have gone largely unchallenged in presenting it as a critical "regional need" and have corralled over $8 million for land. Well-worn patterns of using public infrastructure funds for land speculation in New Mexico should give us pause. But promoters seem particularly intent on ignoring this history.
They are aided in creating an illusion of selfless vision and foresight by a near absence of transparency. Most significantly, we don't know who the land owners are. New Mexico is one of only two states (Wyoming?) that allows owners of limited liability corporations to remain completely anonymous. As stated on 60 Minutes last night, in some states its easier to create a business than to get a library card. New Mexico is one of those.
Who is Western Albuquerque Land Holdings anyway?
The rational argument for spending New Mexico’s scarce dollars on right-of-way is that the State needs to purchase land "before development drives the values up." This hasn't been weighed with a counter-argument based on the very real possibility that land prices will go down. It's not like the economy is going gang-busters. The State is more likely to pay way too much. And using land values to establish a funding priority is pretty skanky shaky.