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Major push to land federal grant for $230M I-25 road project bears fruit
A $230 million project to expand Interstate 25 between Loveland and Fort Collins has netted a $15 million grant from the federal government.
The money came from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s highly competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant Program, which helps pay for road, rail, transit and port projects.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) had asked for $25 million, according to an April 2016 letter of support for the grant request signed by both Colorado’s U.S. Senators, Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner, and U.S. Representatives who represent the area, Congressmen Ed Perlmutter (R), Ken Buck (R) and Jared Polis (D).
The $230 million project aims to expand and improve I-25 in northern Colorado, including the construction of a new, 14-mile tolled express lane in each direction between State Highway 14, near Johnston, and State Highway 402 in Fort Collins.
Significant population growth along the North I-25 corridor in recent years has led to congestion and travel delays on the highway, and CDOT has forecast that the number of vehicles using the northern part of I-25 in Colorado will grow by 60 percent between now and 2040.
By some estimates, the congestion has cost Northern Colorado businesses $56 million in lost revenue and created major delays for commuters along the Front Range, according to CDOT.
The project is supported by a wide range of business groups, including the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance and the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Bennet and Gardner both announced Tuesday that CDOT had received the $15 million grant.
“Congestion on the North I-25 corridor is stifling economic growth and affecting people’s quality of life,” Bennet said.
“These communities have been working together for years to find the resources to expand I-25. While this funding is a critical first step, we need to continue working to ensure that CDOT and local governments have the resources they need to finish the job,” Bennet said.
Gardner called the $15 million “a significant step” toward funding the project.
“I’m thrilled the Colorado Department of Transportation will receive much-needed funding for the North I-25 project,” said Gardner.
“I was honored to join several local officials, businesses and community leaders in support of the grant, and I’m pleased the United States Department of Transportation recognized how important this project is to the people of the Centennial state,” Gardner said.
Local governments also are kicking in money to help pay for the project.
“The communities of Northern Colorado came together in an unprecedented way to make this a reality,” said Shailen Bhatt, CDOT’s executive director.
“With this TIGER money, CDOT can complete the funding for improvements to this segment of the North I-25 corridor, a vital part of our state’s economic development,” Bhatt said.