LOS LUNAS — The village of Los Lunas jumped on the opportunity to become a partner agency in a recently-funded, multi-state project dedicated to designing an Interstate 40 tradeport corridor.

“The I-40 TradePort Corridor is poised to facilitate trade opportunities benefiting the village of Los Lunas via the Central New Mexico Rail Park,” wrote village of Los Lunas senior economic developer Victoria Archuleta in a press release. “It will create additional integration into the greater Albuquerque metropolitan area and beyond. This corridor fuels opportunities for accelerated expansion and enhancement of infrastructure for the region.”

Interstate 40 is a major east-west transcontinental highway that has long been regarded as a vital trade route, which begins in California and ends across the country in North Carolina.

In October, Bernalillo County was awarded $974,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Regional Infrastructure Accelerators program to begin research and preliminary design work of the I-40 TradePort Corridor.

The USDOT website states the award is dedicated to advancing critical transportation infrastructure projects across the United States.

The corridor would support “an integrated supply chain system of clean energy-logistics-industrial hubs,” the press release stated

“Over the next year, the USDOT RIA will help accelerate project delivery through a variety of ways, including project planning, studies and analysis, and preliminary engineering and design work,” read a press release.

Recently, a tri-state coalition was formed to spearhead the initiative with Bernalillo County serving as the lead on the project. The team includes tri-state public and private partners in the Port of Los Angeles, Calif., Kingman and Winslow, Ariz. Regional partners include Sandoval County and the village of Los Lunas.

At the Aug. 24 Los Lunas Village Council meeting, the council agreed to enter a memorandum of understanding agreement with Sandoval County to join the coalition.

“This valuable effort and partnership will create greater visibility and outreach to support community-wide business development, to recruit domestic and foreign companies and direct investment into the local economy,” the village of Los Lunas agenda stated.

I-40 begins in California and ends across the country in North Carolina. Image courtesy of Bernalillo County. 

While I-40 doesn’t run through Los Lunas, Archuleta said there is a lot of opportunity that will feed into the village from the tradeport corridor, as I-40 is one of the busiest interstates west of the Mississippi.

Los Lunas Deputy Village Administrator Erin Callahan said I-40 is also a very important distribution corridor because it connects to the ports in Los Angeles not just with highway, but also with rail.

“Right now, there’s a bottleneck of consumer goods coming in from Asian countries and they’re being held up in the port of Los Angeles, so want to make Barstow, Winslow and the Albuquerque metro an extension of the port, making it easier for these goods to be transported and distributed to rest of the country,” said Archuleta. “(Los Lunas) is included because in some near future, we want to incorporate a BNSF rail spur here in the Central New Mexico Rail Park and we’re hoping that attracts companies and businesses because of our proximity to I-40 and I-25.”

Callahan said while the project is in its very early stages, being a part of this in-land port once it gets up and running will be advantageous in attracting companies, so it’s something she recommended the village be involved with from the start.

The Los Lunas Village Council unanimously voted to enter into the MOU with Sandoval County. As part of their responsibilities under the agreement, the village is required to pay $10,000 to Sandoval County to help cover fees related to the project proposal.

An excerpt on the Bernalillo County website states, “With a backbone of logistics, clean energy fueling and charging, and industrial infrastructure at strategic locations, the I40TPC will yield an integrated, high-efficiency, and automated logistics system that will provide new flexibility, cost savings and reliability to shippers and logistics companies.”

The Bernalillo County website also notes it anticipates the I-40 Tradeport Corridor will create about 60,000 new jobs at the Arizona and New Mexico hubs.

“We need the infrastructure in place to make it easier for businesses to come to New Mexico,” said Archuleta. “There’s a lot of opportunity to capitalize on the transportation of goods here in Los Lunas. Also, what’s really great about this is it’s an acknowledgement that we are in fact part of the greater metro area. We’re never going to connect directly because of Isleta Pueblo, but we are part of this ecosystem.”

I-40 TradePort Corridor objectives:

  • Contribute to a more efficient national supply chain system
  • Substantially reduce greenhouse gasses and air criteria pollutants
  • Significantly increase economic competitiveness; especially in rural/challenged areas
  • Reduce vehicle miles traveled, road congestion, maintenance and increase traffic safety
  • Built around social equity and environmental justice principles
  • Promote collaboration and partnership across public and private sectors

(Source: bernco.gov)

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Felina Martinez was born and raised in Valencia County. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2021. During her time at UNM, she studied interdisciplinary film, digital media and journalism. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, the School of Dreams Academy and the town of Peralta.