Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has approved $495 million in spending for a variety of road, bridge, and infrastructure projects.
That money, most of which will go for highway construction and upgrading, is part of a larger $28.9 billion fiscal year 2019 budget that becomes effective on July 1.
But members of the Colorado legislature, working towards a May 9 session closing date, are still trying to decide whether to pass a $1.3 billion transportation bill designed to fund most of Colorado’s transportation needs well beyond 2019.
Those legislators are also considering approving a ballot bonding initiative that would ask for $3.5 billion in transportation funding, using $250 million a year in the state’s general fund to pay it off.
Although Colorado Department of Transportation officials have said that the state’s highway and road issues are severe across the state, transportation infrastructure challenges in the Denver metro area remain the most acute.
According to a report published in 2015 by the Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, the average Denver driver spends at least 49 hours per year stopped in traffic.
Those numbers, say the state’s transportation experts, reflect an increase in Denver’s population, which has jumped from 554,000 in 2000 to more than 704,000 this year.
By Garry Boulard
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