I-25 project needs high-speed idea interchange

Northern Colorado businesses have a vested interest in ensuring that Interstate 25 is expanded from Colorado Highway 66 east of Longmont all the way north to Fort Collins. For months now, the Colorado Department of Transportation has been floating a plan to convert an existing lane to a toll lane to help generate the cash needed to expand this critical roadway.

  Not surprisingly, local government officials whose communities line the route, are unhappy with the idea that a road their citizens have already paid to improve is being auctioned off again. Why are our citizens paying twice?
 
  Unfortunately, Colorado’s aging highways have been sorely neglected, and none of the gas taxes or other funding streams has been able to keep up with the wear-and-tear our state’s growing population has inflicted on our roadways.
 
  In addition, Colorado taxpayers have been unwilling to burden themselves with a statewide tax increase that would pay for the necessary roadwork.
 
  This month, the stakes on improving and widening I-25 up in our neighborhood – where traffic flows are projected to double in the next 15 years – just rose. If we act quickly, we can tap a $143 million Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships (RAMP) grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation. But without a regional consensus on how to proceed, that grant is in jeopardy.
 
  Area chambers of commerce and economic-development agencies are sounding the alarm and launching a series of meetings to see if business and government leaders can iron out their differences so that this critical transportation project can move forward.
 
As always, when business and government apply their combined wit and muscle to an important project, surprising things can happen. Kudos to the chambers for the call to action, and let’s hope we find an equitable way to move this important project forward.


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