Huge annual debt service and looming payments weigh on New Mexico's Rail Runner

Associated Press

A New Mexico commuter rail line connecting two of the state's most well-known cities has been hailed as a progressive step toward taking people out of cars.

But it comes at a price. The train earned $2.8 million last year in fares from more than a million riders, but cost $28.4 million to operate.

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The finances surrounding the Rail Runner have created a divide in New Mexico. To some, the price tag makes no sense, especially considering relatively low ridership numbers and little congestion on the roads. Others, pointing out large price tags for road projects, say it's an asset worth keeping.

For those who ride the train, it's one of the best deals in the country. The average fare is $2.47.