Facing a December 31 deadline to “use or lose” a $30 million grant, CDOT has come up with a proposal that seems to have found favor with local elected officials. Johnny Olson, CDOT’s regional director, has proposed that the grant focus on two locations along North I-25 that routinely see congestion and slowdowns – the Berthoud Hill (southbound) and the Crossroads Boulevard interchange.
CDOT’s High Performance Transportation Enterprise will have to approve the proposal at its December 17th meeting. In the meantime Olson also convinced the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) management council to approve a resolution to allocate $5 million of the MPO’s 2015-2016 project budget to augment the RAMP grant, because it is likely the projects will cost more than the $30 million grant will cover.
The fact that the MPO council voted in favor of this resolution means that it is extremely unlikely that any of the jurisdictions that abut I-25 would oppose Olson’s projects ensuring the required consensus. If so, Northern Colorado may be on its way to receiving the RAMP grant funding, nearly 18 months after the grant was initially awarded. Some argue that the completion of these two smaller projects will better position CDOT to get additional funding for the corridor when and if more money is available.