Udall hopes to secure $16 million in federal transportation money
SUMMIT COUNTY – Congressman Mark Udall, D-Colo., has managed to tuck $16 million into the federal transportation bill for highway projects in his Second Congressional District, which includes Summit County.The House will vote on the spending bill later this week.Summit County Commissioners complained at a recent commissioner meeting that Congressional representatives haven’t done all they could to obtain federal money for transportation in Colorado.”We just haven’t gotten federal funding like we should have, and that’s partly a responsibility of our Congressional representatives,” said Commissioner Tom Long. “Maybe it will become a habit for him.”Of the $16 million, $4 million will address capacity needs and safety improvements on Interstate 70 from C-470 to Glenwood Canyon.That won’t put much of a dent in the $4 billion needed to make major improvements along the corridor.”It’s not going to do squat, frankly,” Long said. “But it’s a start.”Udall agreed.”The amount in the bill will not cover all of our needs in the Second District, and I’m disappointed that there isn’t more, but we’ll take it,” Udall said. “In a time of record budget deficits, we have to do more with less. So, I am pleased that the Transportation Committee has acknowledged the transportation challenges we face in Colorado as a result of years of growth and decades of inattention to needed upgrades and improvements.””Good for him – I think it’s terrific,” said Commissioner Bill Wallace. “I wish it’d go to investigate transit alternatives, but I’m sure CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) will have different views on that.” An additional $5 million will be spent on U.S. 36 to make road improvements, safety enhancements, commuter rail, High Occupancy Vehicles and Bus Rapid Transit lanes and bikeway improvements; $2 million will go toward interchange reconstruction at U.S. 36 and Wadsworth Ave. in Broomfield; and $4 million to improve and widen State Highway 44 from Colorado Boulevard to State Highway 2.The remainder has been authorized for bus projects along U.S. 36 and the Roaring Fork Valley.House Resolution 3 provides $284 billion through 2009 and provides $225.5 billion for highways and $52.3 billion for mass transit. Congress has delayed action on the bill for more than a year because of disagreements over funding levels in House and Senate bills.County commissioners have been critical of how the federal government allocates money to the state.According to Long, Colorado is ranked ninth in the amount of money that leaves the state to feed the federal general fund, but is only 41st in what comes back to the state from the feds.
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