The Colorado Dept. of Transportation has included 116 road and bridge projects totaling $1.166 billion on its sample list of ready-to-go highway projects awaiting a possible federal transportation stimulus bill. With the exception of a $210-million request for full reconstruction of a major freeway interchange north of Denver, most of the list includes smaller paving and bridge maintenance projects averaging a few million dollars each.
That list does not include CDOT’s requests for an additional $113.1 million for aviation projects, mostly improvements to the state’s smaller regional airports, and another $144.4 million for transit work.
However, CDOT Director Russ George estimates that Colorado is likely to get at most $250 million from a federal stimulus package. That amount doesn’t come close to the $428 million the state may lose in state and federal transportation tax revenues this year, according to Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter’s office.
Ritter told a state economic forecasting committee on Dec. 15 that no amount of money from the federal government will be enough to meet the state’s long-range transportation needs, estimated by his own Blue Ribbon Transportation Panel to be around $1.5 billion a year, with a minimum target of $500 million annually.
Ritter is pushing the state legislature to seek transportation revenue sources beyond gasoline taxes, including tolling on existing public roads and public-private partnerships. He said that 2009 is probably not a good year to ask the public for a tax hike. The governor’s office said it hopes to have a formal plan for transportation funding ready as early as next week.