Regional Transportation's Consensus Building Between Local and Tribal Governments in New Mexico: A Case Study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - commuting, mode - mass transit


Tribal government, Transit, Teamwork, Regional transportation, Public transit, Public hearings, Organizational barriers, North Central Regional Transit District (New Mexico), New Mexico, Mass transit, Local transit, Local government, Jurisdictions, Intrastate transportation, Cooperation, Consensus, Collaboration, Certification, Case studies, Awareness


Despite the area's notable heterogeneity, the North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD) is the first regional transit district (RTD) certified in New Mexico. The NCRTD contains the state's largest and smallest pueblos, the poorest and richest counties, and rural communities steeped in 500-year-old Spanish traditions near the New Age cosmopolitanism of Santa Fe. The diverse geographical, political, and economic landscape of the NCRTD can make it difficult to pursue new or ambitious projects across the disparate jurisdictions. Organizational and jurisdictional barriers can create roadblocks to effective collaboration. The New Mexico Department of Transportation Research Bureau provided funds to develop a case study and model that could be followed by other potential RTDs in the state. As the organizing and research entity, the Alliance for Transportation Research Institute of the University of New Mexico was charged with developing the RTD model and staffing the effort. An organizing committee, representing public and private interests, was tasked with producing the certification documents and supporting materials, presenting them clearly and effectively to governing bodies and the public, and providing an example of crossjurisdictional transit collaboration. Creation of the NCRTD required public hearings in every jurisdiction. One-on-one "study sessions" raised public awareness in every jurisdiction and fueled the process for obtaining the needed affirmative votes to join the NCRTD. The NCRTD, composed of 10 initial members, has completed the necessary steps for creating an RTD and was certified by the New Mexico Transportation Commission in autumn 2004 as the first RTD in New Mexico.