Tom Warne Report, 21 December 2012
More money will be available sooner for Colorado roads thanks to a new plan unveiled by Gov. John Hickenlooper and Don Hunt, executive director of the state transportation department. The Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships, or RAMP, program, allows the department to start more projects sooner with the additional $300 million per year now available over the next five years.
In recent years, the Colorado Department of Transportation has built up a cash balance of over $1 billion, because the uncertainty of federal funding required the agency to fully fund projects before starting them. With Congress passing an extension of the federal gas tax this past July, there is greater stability in funding.
Hunt said the agency’s investing in new accounting software has also helped. The new projects to be added to the schedule may include the badly aging U.S. 50 in southern Colorado, and other projects can now be accelerated. The I-25 widening project will be completed sooner, as well as a new interchange on I-70 near Grand Junction and others. The program will also allow the department to increase its road surfacing efforts by another $86 million to $200 million this year.