Stimulus: $20 million for I-70, Colorado 9
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
Summit County will receive more than $30 million in federal funding for transportation projects as part of the stimulus bill aimed at jump-starting the moribund U.S. economy.
State officials this week announced that Colorado will receive more than $500 million for transportation projects statewide.
Some of the $317 million in federal highway funds ” $8 million ” will pay for Interstate-70 improvements between Vail Pass and Frisco, and an expansion of Colorado 9 to four lanes between Valley Brook Road and Coyne Valley will receive $12 million.
The county will receive another $10.3 million for construction of a new maintenance facility at the County Commons for Summit Stage and county vehicles.
“Getting funding for the Summit Stage and fleet-maintenance facility was huge,” said assistant county manager Thad Noll. “The facility was desperately needed, and we were on the verge of having to borrow a significant amount of money and deplete the very limited Transit Fund reserves to help pay for a new building.”
The federal boost will help the Summit Stage hang on to its reserve funds and delay or avoid service cuts, Noll said.
The Colorado-9 project will include a new pedestrian bridge and a retaining wall. The project also will relocate a bike path and improve drainage. Construction should begin in March.
The I-70 project includes needed repairs to bridges along the highway.
“It’s important to remember that this will likely not be the final list of projects to be funded with ARRA funds,” said Transportation Commission Chairman Bill Kaufman. “Colorado may receive additional funding, or some projects may have difficulty meeting construction schedules. The $1.4 billion in projects we had on our initial list far exceeds the $317 million we expect to receive. We have many more projects we can accelerate should Colorado receive more funding from this program.”
The funding was good news for 35-year county resident and former commissioner Gary Lindstrom.
“We have a four-season economy that’s based on the ability of people to get here, enjoy their time and get back home efficiently, and we haven’t been able to provide that for a long time,” Lindstrom said. “We reached capacity many years ago, as far as I’m concerned. Anything we do to address that will help the local economy.”
Aside from just the short-term infusion of cash, Lindstrom said the construction activity will help spur other parts of the local economy, from L.G. Everist, which provides road-construction material, to lodges, local shops and restaurants.
Adding some historic perspective to show the value of capital investment, Lindstrom said it’s important to remember that major construction projects such as I-70 and the Dillon Dam led to the birth of the Town of Silverthorne decades ago.
The American Recovery and Re-investment Act, as it’s formally known, requires the state to have at least half of that $317 million committed to projects within 120 days. That means more of Colorado 9 could be expanded to four lanes if some other projects around the state don’t make the ready-to-go cut.
“It’s possible that funding (for Colorado 9) may become available in the next 120 days to a year because other projects around the state or nation may not be able to go forward,” Noll said, “but that’s a long shot.”
Bob Berwyn can be reached
at (970) 331-5996, or at
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