August 10, 2010 10:00 AM, EDT

New Mexico Mulls Closing Some Rest Areas

Move Opposed by State Trucking Association

New Mexico is considering closng 13 of its 32 highway rest areas because of a budget shortfall.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation estimates closing the areas would save $1.6 million in annual operating costs.

But Victor Sheppard, managing director of the New Mexico Trucking Association, said the savings would be “negligible” and that the trucking industry opposes any closings.

The state is monitoring revenue in the state road fund and will probably know by next month whether it will have enough money to keep the rest areas open, NMDOT spokesman Mark Slimp said.

The state’s road fund depends on revenue from fuel taxes, vehicle sales taxes, registration fees and truck fees for overweight, oversize permits, Slimp said.