New Mexico wants to protect cars and animals from each other

February 26, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico might build highway underpasses for wildlife to safely travel through as it looks for new ways to protect large mammals such as elk, antelope, bear and pronghorn sheep from road traffic, and vice versa.

The state Senate on Monday approved a Democrat-sponsored bill that would order state agencies overseeing highways and big-game animals to develop a list of projects to protect passenger vehicles and wandering wildlife. The initiative from Sen. Mimi Stewart of Albuquerque now moves to the House for consideration.

Stewart estimates the financial cost of collisions between cars and animals in the state at about $20 million a year, including property damage and medical expenses.

A Senate amendment to the bill added language designed to protect private property owners from potential eminent domain proceedings.