Entrance to Aspen now on high-priority funding list | AspenTimes.com

Entrance to Aspen now on high-priority funding list

Allyn Harvey
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Entrance to Aspen is now on a list of high-priority transportation projects that should be funded as soon as the money is available.

The State Transportation Advisory Committee recommended Friday that the Entrance to Aspen and two other mountain region projects be considered of statewide significance. The other two projects are the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s proposal for a high-capacity “bus/rapid transit” system and widening of Highway 9 near Frisco.

The recommendation comes two weeks before the Colorado Transportation Commission is scheduled to begin deciding which projects to fund once the legislature and governor come up with the money.

The advisory committee has been working on its recommendations for several months as the state attempts to recoup from the effects of the 2001 recession and Sept. 11. The Entrance to Aspen, which is the final unfinished leg of the Highway 82 work, and RFTA made the lineup of 27 finalists from a list of 93 projects.

“Both the Democrats and the governor recognize the need for future transportation funding. All the screaming in Denver is about what the source should be,” Pitkin County Commissioner Mick Ireland said.

Ireland is one of several county commissioners and other elected officials who sit on the advisory committee, which meets monthly to discuss transportation planning issues. Their recommendations are forwarded to the Transportation Commission, which oversees management of the Colorado Department of Transportation.

If the local projects survive the upcoming scrutiny of the Transportation Commission, they will remain in competition for scarce transportation dollars with everything from Interstate 25 improvements near Fort Collins to the Powers Boulevard bypass through Colorado Springs.

Major projects such as the Snowmass Canyon leg of Highway 82 and the T-REX project along I-25 in Denver are not on the advisory committee’s list because their funding has already been secured.

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