I attended a Brookings Institution meeting in Denver yesterday that was meant to add comment and critique to a report they will release next summer about the Inter Mountain West. They had asked about 30 folks from around the west to advise them on some of their preliminary findings. They have identified five 'Megapolitan' areas that will lead the nation in economic and population growth in the next few decades. The Albuquerque/Santa Fe corridor is one of the areas. The other areas are Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Las Vegas.
The representatives from the Denver area noted during their meeting that Albuquerque was now their biggest competitor for economic development. They pinned that directly on the leadership of Governor Bill Richardson's. The also lauded him for the foresight in buying the rail line in New Mexico all the way up to the border with Colorado.
I will be laying out some interesting statistics about what we will see in the future for New Mexico when I get them compiled. It is dramatic and it can be a positive thing if it is done right.
I personally believe one of the biggest obstacles towards proper planning for the the future in the west are the County Commissions that spend little or no time thinking about how to handle the development that is headed our way. The cities have pretty much been built out in many places or their planning and development requirements make it easy for counties to show the developers an 'easy' way of making a buck. Little thought is being given to the burdens that will be put on the taxpayers by understaffed county governments and corruptible county commissioners.