CDOT could take big funding hit

By: Cassie Heykoop Email
By: Cassie Heykoop Email

GRAND JUNCTION State and local governments could take a big hit on federal funding for transportation and transit projects next year.
The Colorado Department of Transportation's annual budget is $1.1 billion and about half that comes from federal funds.

The Highway Trust Fund is running low meaning if congress isn't able to refill it, state and local governments could lose millions of dollars in funding.

"That would be a very serious situation for Colorado and all of the states," Colorado Transportation Commission Chairman Doug Aden said.

If the state loses its federal allocation, CDOT would essentially have to shut down it's entire construction division. Many projects that are already funded would be able to finish, but there would be no new construction contracts and several projects in the works would be delayed.

"I don't think that will happen because I think congress understands what a devastating impact that would have on the communities and the construction industry," Aden said.

A great majority of CDOT's projects are done by private contractors, all a part of an industry that is slowly recovering and still holds high unemployment rates.

"Any slow down or stoppage in CDOT projects would have a devastating impact on the economy and on unemployment in the heavy construction industry," Aden said.

State dollars would still be able to cover small maintenance projects and road surface treatment, but bigger projects like work on I-70 B would have to come to a halt.
In the past CDOT has used their share of the money carefully, completing many projects like the diverging diamond on a small budget.

"I think CDOT has done a good job, has an excellent track record of bringing projects in on time and on budget," Aden said. "I think they have proven that they have been good stewards of the tax payers dollars."

The deadline for action on this funding item is still a few months out. Congress has until this fall to make a decision.
In the meantime emergency funds will be used to keep certain projects going for things like flood related road repairs.

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