Congressman Joe Neguse requests federal funding for Summit County infrastructure projects

Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse discusses the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act at the Coon Hill Trail Head on the west side of the Eisenhower Tunnel on Sept. 4.
Photo by Liz Copan / Studio Copan

Rep. Joe Neguse is pushing for better funding at the federal level to support infrastructure projects in Summit County.

Earlier this month, Neguse submitted several requests to the House Appropriations Committee and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in hopes of providing more widespread funding for projects across Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes Summit, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Grand and Larimer counties along with portions of Boulder, Eagle, Jefferson, Park and Weld counties.

Neguse’s requests included $12.65 million specifically for Summit County infrastructure projects, which would provide funding for the 2022 fiscal year if passed.

“As Congress works to pass comprehensive infrastructure legislation and finalize this year’s budget, both of which we hope to do this summer, our office is working to make sure that Summit County is allocated its fair share in direct funding to support local community projects,” Neguse said in an interview with the Summit Daily on Wednesday, May 12.

Three of Neguse’s four funding requests for Summit County dealt with transportation in the county and through the Interstate 70 mountain corridor. The most significant request includes $6.65 million for the Frisco Transit Center, a new 3,600-square-foot facility set to replace the older transit center off Meadow Drive later this year.

Other requests include $4 million for repairs to the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnel and $1 million for the Colorado Highway 9 Gap Project, which is underway on Summit Boulevard between Frisco and Breckenridge. Neguse said it would be up to him to defend the proposals to his colleagues in Congress and to highlight the importance of investing in the thoroughfares and facilities that serve as economic drivers for the community.

“A big component of our work is trying to help our colleagues understand the gravity of scale of these needs back in the Rocky Mountain West,” Neguse said. “I often have to remind some of my colleagues on the East Coast that my district is bigger than the size of New Jersey geographically. So when we talk about I-70, for example, underscoring to them the real necessity for us to invest in that highway given the major economic impact that it has on both sides of the (Continental Divide) and just as a key artery as far as the exchange of commerce is concerned across multiple states.”

In addition to the state transportation projects, Neguse also requested $1 million to support the construction of a new vehicle storage facility and expanded training for Summit County Rescue Group, what he called a necessity given the growing number of recreationists and rescue missions in Summit County’s backcountry in recent years.

“Clearly, this is an issue that merits and warrants the attention of policymakers,” Neguse said. “Our law enforcement, our first responders do incredible work every day protecting our community. And I think we need to make sure that we’re getting them the resources that they need when they’re doing their critical search and rescue work.”

Neguse said the four funding requests were prioritized based on conversations with the Summit Board of County Commissioners and other stakeholders around the county. He also noted that as the community continues to grow, investing in infrastructure projects now could pay big dividends in the future.

“Colorado’s population growth has been exponential over the course of the last decade, and Summit County has been no exception,” Neguse said. “The growth that our state is experiencing, and our congressional district in particular, is real, and it has to be addressed. One of the ways we can better plan for the future is making these investments today. … Every one of those investments, in my view, is well justified, well deserved, and we’re going to work hard each and every day to make these projects a reality.”

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