Transportation planners hold open house

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Past Event

Northwest Transportation Planning Region 2035 Regional Transportation Plan open house

  • Wednesday, October 24, 2007, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Olympian Hall, Howelsen Hill, Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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— Transportation planning - especially on a regional or statewide scale - may seem too large to be influenced by everyday citizens. Stacey Stegman wants people to know that in her mind, that's not true.

"Transportation planning happens at a grassroots level," said Stegman, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation. "CDOT doesn't just sit back and choose projects."

Tonight, locals will have an opportunity to interact with CDOT planners at an open house from 5 to 8 p.m. in Olympian Hall at the Howelsen Lodge. Drafts of 2035 transportation plans for CDOT and the Northwest Colorado Transportation Planning Region will be presented at the event.

Routt County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush, a member of the northwest planning region, said citizens may directly impact the final 2035 plans.

"The more the merrier," Mitsch Bush said. "I would really encourage people to attend because it's very important that we get input from everyone because everyone is impacted by transportation planning. : There's going to be more and more pressures on our transportation system."

The northwest planning region includes Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Jackson and Grand counties. Other Routt County members of the regional planning committee include Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin, Oak Creek Mayor J. Elliott, Steamboat Springs City Council President Susan Dellinger, Steamboat City Manager Alan Lanning and Steamboat Transportation Director George Krawzoff.

"We would want the public to help us shape what their transportation system will look like in the future," said Stegman, who said CDOT hopes to have the final 2035 plans completed next year.

The northwest planning region has identified five corridors that are seen as critical links in the region's system and that will require improvements by 2035. They are:

- Colorado Highway 13 from Rifle to the Wyoming border

- U.S. Highway 40 west of Craig to Empire

- Colo. 64 from Dinosaur to Meeker

- Colo. 131 from Wolcott to Steamboat Springs

- Colo. 139 from Loma to Rangely

The needs greatly exceed the $304 million expected to be available to the region from 2008 to 2035, so improvements will be constrained and prioritized, according to the planning region's 2035 draft plan.

"Transportation funding at federal and state level is in crisis," Mitsch Bush said. "We're in the hole, but I don't want to give anyone the impression that this isn't important because there's no money."

Mitsch Bush noted that some relief might be identified next month, when Gov. Bill Ritter's Blue Ribbon Transportation Panel is expected to deliver a report on funding and implementation options for Colorado's transportation systems.

"From that (report), there might be ideas about alternative forms of funding from the state level," Mitsch Bush said.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210 or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

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