BY FREDA MIKLIN
On December 16, Colorado United States Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper announced that our state will receive around $3.5 billion for highway and bridge projects and $430 million for airports around the state over the next five years from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021.
Of that total, Colorado will see $716 million for highway and bridge projects during the current fiscal year that ends September 30, 2022. Airports around the state will receive over $86 million during this fiscal year and the same amount during the following year. The lion’s share, $59 million this year and again next year, is allocated to Denver International Airport, but 48 other airports around the state will each receive annual allocations ranging from $4.4 million for Colorado Springs Municipal Airport to $110,000 each for airports in Akron, Granby, Holyoke, Kremmling, Leadville, Meeker, Nucla, Rangely, Trinidad and Yuma. In our area, Centennial Airport is slated to receive $763,000 annually in FY 2022 and FY 2023.
Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Shoshana Lew said, “These much-needed funds will support a record construction season that we are planning for Colorado next year. Thanks to the expanded resources made available by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, we are poised to build on our unprecedented state-level modernization bill passed by the Colorado state legislature and signed by Governor Polis this Spring to move even more quickly in delivering our 10-year project plan.”
Denver International Airport CEO Phil Washington said, “This grant will provide much-needed funding for DEN’s infrastructure projects and will go a long way in helping us prepare for the exponential growth we are experiencing.”
A statement from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) noted that, “For decades, infrastructure in Colorado has suffered from a systemic lack of investment. In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Colorado a C- on its infrastructure report card. The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will make life better for millions of Colorado residents (and) create a generation of good-paying union jobs and economic growth.”
In addition to the direct allocations, DOT announced 19 new and expanded competitive grant programs in the Infrastructure Law that are expected to launch over the coming year for state and local governments. The total value of these grants is $118.7 billion, including $15 billion for surface transportation projects of local and/or regional significance, $2 billion to replace, rehabilitate and purchase buses and related equipment and to construct bus-related facilities including technological changes to modify low or no emission vehicles, $23 billion for new high-capacity transit projects, and $2 billion to improve surface transportation infrastructure in rural areas, increasing connectivity, improving safety and reliability of the movement of people and freight, and generate regional economic growth.