CDOT seeks public input on statewide transportation plan | SteamboatToday.com

CDOT seeks public input on statewide transportation plan

Scott Franz

— Northwest Colorado residents have a few more days to weigh in on a plan that could have big consequences for the future of local transportation improvements.

The Statewide Transit Plan aims to prioritize transportation funding in a state where the cost of transportation needs through 2040 is projected to exceed available funding by $23.3 billion.

"We do not have enough transportation funding to do what we need to do to maintain our roads, let alone for capital improvements," Colorado Transportation Commissioner Kathy Connell said. "So what happens is when we don’t have enough money, we are desperately trying to prioritize and make a plan to ensure everything is balanced and everybody is getting a little bit of something."

Connell said she hopes members of the public will comment on whether they agree with the proposed statewide funding approach.

Community members can view the Statewide Transit Plan and comment on it through Sunday by visiting http://www.coloradotransportationmatters.com.

The Colorado Department of Transportation oversees the site and planning process.

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The draft plan identifies Colorado Highway 131 from Wolcott to Steamboat Springs and Colo. 9 from Silverthorne to Kremmling as two of the six priority corridors in the Northwest region.

On Colo. 9, the plan calls for improved wildlife crossings, expanded transit usage, the construction of passing lanes and support for more commuter and recreation travel.

On Colo. 131, the plan calls for improvements to accommodate freight transport growth and road improvements near Oak Creek, among other things.

Straightening out and widening parts of the highway as it twists and turns through Oak Creek Canyon is noted as one of the plan’s highest priorities in the next 10 years.

According to CDOT, there are $45.8 billion worth of transportation needs from 2016 to 2040 but only $22.4 billion in projected revenue available to fund them.

"The goal of the plan is to keep our focus, and it all has to do with asset management and how do we best spend our limited dollars," Connell said.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10