Monday, February 8, 2010

GOV. RITTER ANNOUNCES STATE FUNDING FOR FOUR LOCAL PROJECTS

GOV. RITTER ANNOUNCES STATE FUNDING FOR FOUR LOCAL PROJECTS

Gov. Bill Ritter today announced four communities impacted by energy and mineral production will receive grant funding totaling $17 million, which will help create 1,853 jobs and strengthen local economies.

The grants are being made available through 2009's Senate Bill 232, sponsored by Sen. Gail Schwartz and Rep. Buffie McFadyen. The legislation set aside the funding for a one-time, competitive grant allocation for projects in energy-impacted cities and towns.

"These projects will create jobs, help get our economy healthy again and strengthen Colorado communities," Gov. Ritter said. "They will contribute to downtown vitality, transportation improvements and strategic investment in public broadband infrastructure. These Colorado communities and their citizens will see direct improvements to their lives."

Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) Executive Director Susan Kirkpatrick, said, "The projects selected have been chosen for their potential to make game-changing, sustainable impacts for years to come. The department greatly values the role of our local partners, the Energy Impact Advisory Committee and the legislature for their input and feedback throughout this process. We look forward to working with these communities as they invest these funds in a way that will improve quality of life."

The one-time grants are funded with federal mineral lease revenues. DOLA received pre-applications from 10 communities in July 2009. From there, seven projects were invited to apply using several criteria, such as the significance of the project for the community, evidence of project relationship to challenges created by energy and mineral development, and measurable outcomes.

"This legislation is a timely measure in assisting communities that bear the impact from energy production," Sen. Schwartz said. "Most importantly, these grants represent a critical investment in regional jobs and infrastructure. I am pleased to have initiated this effort on behalf of these communities."

"Through the funding of these projects, we have created an opportunity to support jobs in Colorado," Rep. McFadyen said. "It gives me a great deal of pride to know these communities will benefit both through employment opportunities and overall improvement to infrastructure."

Public hearings and presentations for these seven projects were held on Feb. 1, 2010. The projects selected to receive funding are:

Town of Parachute Interchange at US-6 & I-70 - $8 million

Applicant/Partners: Town of Parachute, Garfield County, Encana, Williams

Project Type: Transportation

Project Description: This project consists of two elements: construction of a new full-diamond interchange on I-70; and a downtown by-pass. The interchange improvements include construction of a full-diamond interchange (two on and off ramps) with acceleration and deceleration lanes. The interchange is located approximately 2 miles west of the existing Town of Parachute I-70 interchange (Exit 75). The project also involves completing a truck by-pass of Parachute from State Highway 6 to CR 215. Acceleration and deceleration lanes at SH 6, a bridge over Parachute Creek and an additional 1,500 feet of road surface would complete the by-pass route.

Mesa County 29 Road Overpass - $3.2 million

Applicant/Partners: Mesa County, City of Grand Junction

Project Type: Transportation

Project Description: The 29 Road Overpass Project is a joint effort by Mesa County and the City of Grad Junction that consists of the construction of a grade-separated crossing of the Union Pacific Railroad in Grand Junction. This project is a component of the beltway loop around the core of the Grand Valley serving Grand Junction, and the outlying communities of Whitewater, Clifton and Fruitvale.

Southwest Colorado Council of Governments (SWCCOG) Regional Telecommunications Infrastructure - $3 million

Applicant/Partners: Southwest Colorado Council of Governments, City of Durango, City of Cortez; Towns of Bayfield, Mancos, Dolores, Dove Creek, Rico, Silverton, Pagosa Springs; Counties of Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, San Juan and Montezuma; Fort Lewis College; Southwest Community College, and various other public agencies such as libraries, schools and fire districts.

Project Type: Regional Broadband Infrastructure

Project Description: This is a regional telecommunication and broadband infrastructure improvement project coordinated by the Southwest Colorado Council of Governments and Region 9 Economic Development District. The overall regional project is comprised within each county and municipality. These smaller portions support the overall regional goal of high-capacity connectivity among public facilities in the various political subdivisions. This project further grows the high capacity network out into each local community and additionally aggregates demand on a regional basis to make the on-going cost affordable.

City of Delta Highway 50 Bypass - $2.8 million

Applicant/Partners: City of Delta

Project Type: Transportation

Project Description: This project consists of the construction of an alternate road for the purpose of routing truck traffic away from the City of Delta's Historic Main Street. The alternate truck route will relieve traffic congestion and improve safety for the city's downtown business corridor located along State Highway 50. The project includes the construction of an overpass structure above the Union Pacific railroad tracks to allow uninterrupted access for emergency responders to and from the North Delta area and the completion of a four lane road connecting at the north and south ends of Main Street.