Steamboat Springs The Routt County Board of Commissioners is expected to authorize a third attempt to land a $13.5 million federal grant that would allow for the widening of a 5.2-mile stretch of Routt County Road 14 where it travels over Yellowjacket Pass on the way to Stagecoach State Park.
Today’s expected vote would mark the third time the county has sought funds for the project through a TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant.
County Manager Tom Sullivan said Monday that the county thought its project lived up to the federal shovel-ready standard last August when it applied for a TIGER 2 grant. What’s new in the latest grant application is that the county and its consultant have completed the process of purchasing the necessary easements for road widening on private property adjoining the road.
Most drivers in the area are familiar with the stretch of road that includes a couple of 90-degree turns through farm fields between Colorado Highway 131 and the Blacktail Meadows subdivision.
Also new to this round of grant applications is that the county has offered a $2 million cash match in addition to the $500,000 grant match promised by the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District during the last grant cycle.
“We didn’t offer the match last year; the grants don’t require it,” Sullivan said. “But what we learned is that projects are ranked in three categories: not recommended, recommended and highly recommended. We were rated ‘recommended’ but we weren’t ‘highly recommended,’ and all of the projects that were approved offered a match.”
To date, Sullivan said the county has invested $1.9 million in the C.R. 14 project, including $1.5 million to purchase right-of-way easements. That process was completed earlier this year. Many of the purchases were in the range of four figures or low five figures for relative slivers of land.
Sullivan said the county has spent a little more than $250,00 on design engineering for the re-routed road, another $54,000 in engineering fees and $95,415 on a consultant to ensure the project is designed to meet the standards of the National Environmental Protection Act.
“I feel pretty good about this application,” Sullivan said about the TIGER 3 grant cycle.
The county expects to receive news of the grant awards in February.
— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com