Ritter certifies federal stimulus projects; I-70 to get work | AspenTimes.com

Ritter certifies federal stimulus projects; I-70 to get work

Steven K. Paulson
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Gov. Bill Ritter has submitted the first round of transportation funds from the federal stimulus package, including major work on the Western Slope, eastern plains and the Interstate 70 corridor.

Ritter said Tuesday he told Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that 18 projects worth $145 million are ready to go. The governor says he will have a list of projects for the rest of the $280 million in the coming months.

The Colorado Department of Transportation says it will begin advertising projects for bidding next week.

“We’re working quickly to do what the people of Colorado want us to do with these recovery dollars: create jobs, strengthen our economy and rebuild our infrastructure. These projects will get shovels in the ground as soon as possible while also increasing safety, benefiting local communities and improving traffic flow,” Ritter said.

Ritter said he has established an independent board to assure the awarding of contracts is fair and impartial.

Projects on the list include $16 million for reconstruction on U.S. 287 from Campo to Hugo, $15 million for reconstruction of Interstate 76 from Sedgwick to the Nebraska state line, $8 million for resurfacing Interstate 70 from Vail Pass to Silverthorne and $8 million for highway improvements on Interstate 25 through Trinidad.

Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, said the projects are a welcome boost to the state’s construction industry.

“They’ve been running on empty. We need to fill up the tank,” Romer said.

Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, said there are better ways to fund transportation than with one-time stimulus funds. He said taxpayers will be paying for the federal stimulus package for years to come.

“You can’t fill potholes with deficits,” Gardner said.

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