Our View: Commuting comes at a cost to Santa Fe

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2014 9:00 pm | Updated: 12:38 am, Fri Jul 11, 2014.

More than half of Santa Fe’s workforce lives outside city limits. That’s the word from a new study released earlier this week by the state Department of Workforce Solutions.

While distressing — the money those workers make is spent in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho or Española rather than in Santa Fe, the report gives city and business leaders solid information to make a dent in those numbers. Currently, only 30 percent of Santa Fe’s workforce lives and works in the city. Some 51 percent commute from elsewhere, and another 19 percent live in Santa Fe and work outside the city. That comes at a cost. A 2007 study by Homewise found that the local economy loses some $301.6 million in annual spending because of commuting workers — those are dollars we could use, especially in tax revenues to pay for necessary services.

Subscription Required

An online service is needed to view this article in its entirety. You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



You must login to view the full content on this page.

Thank you for reading 5 free articles on our site. You can come back at the end of your 30-day period for another 5 free articles, or you can get complete access to the online edition for $2.49 a week. If you need help, please contact our office at 505-986-3010 You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



Rules of Conduct

  • 1 No Alias Commenters must use their real names.
  • 2 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 3 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. and please turn off caps lock.
  • 4 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Khal Spencer posted at 5:23 pm on Tue, Jul 15, 2014.

    Khal Spencer Posts: 1163

    Housing affordable? Do the editorialists at the New Mexican read their own newspaper? In a related story, "Report: Half of Santa Fe's Workforce Lives Outside City" we find this little gem:

    "...“There’s a builder here in Santa Fe that also builds in Albuquerque. The floor plan that he (a potential home buyer) was considering buying here in Santa Fe was $360,000. The same floor plan in Albuquerque with a little bit more land was $220,000.”...”

    Yeah. Real affordable....for whom?

  • Emilio Gonzales posted at 10:09 am on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    ERGxmas Posts: 5

    Infrastructure, of which sustainable water resouces is critical, constrains housing growth in Santa Fe. The many service jobs related to the tourism sector of local economy make it difficult for many workers to find affordable housing. The surrounding communities, which provide affordable housing, provide the workforce to maintain the Santa Fe economy which is mainly driven by state / local governments, tourism and LANL.

  • Pierce Knolls posted at 1:44 pm on Fri, Jul 11, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 2990

    So, the Railrunner makes it easier to work in Santa Fe without living here, and the Living Wage makes doing so economically viable for a greater number of folks. Meanwhile, development fees, green building codes, mandatory affordable unit requirements, and the high cost of property all contribute to making it harder to build new homes here, creating a housing supply shortage and even higher prices for existing units. On top of that, we've got a crime problem that's so bad that half the cops have moved out of town for the safety of their families. But sure, a slick PR campaign aimed at commuters will turn all our fortunes around.

  • Patricio R. Downs posted at 11:40 am on Fri, Jul 11, 2014.

    Patricio Downs Posts: 95

    The logic in this op-ed piece is flawed. It doesn't take into account WHY Santa Fe provides jobs for so many commuters: it's the state capital. There are several businesses that directly serve state government (think computer stores, telecom equipment providers, etc.), as well as other businesses that indirectly support it (restaurants for state workers to eat, etc.) as well.

    The logic given here seems to state a preference for people living in Santa Fe to fill jobs within the city. It's not always going to work. You may have someone who chooses to live in Santa Fe who has an advanced physics or chemistry degree. Where in Santa Fe are you going to find work in your field? Such a person might need to travel to Los Alamos or Albuquerque for gainful employment. Likewise, you may have a situation - like mine - where you're a local boy or girl who left the state for greener pastures, but had to come back because you had (family/friends) here that you needed to come care for. If your family has a house or some land in Pojoaque, Espanola, or Pecos that you can use, does that mean you shouldn't go work in Santa Fe simply because you're not living within the city limits?

    This article also doesn't take into account that most people shop, go to the doctor, wash their car, fuel up, etc., closer to work than home. The economic argument doesn't appear valid for this reason.


Write us! We welcome opinions from the readers. Send either letters (150 words) or My Views (600 words) to letters@sfnewmexican.com.

You can write a letter once a month or one My View every three months. We require the letter writer's name, address and phone number to be considered for publication. We also encourage writers to include a photo of themselves.

Any questions? Call 986-3063.