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Trump's infrastructure plan's impact on I-25 Gap plan - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Trump's infrastructure plan's impact on I-25 Gap plan

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President Trump's $1.5 trillion 'Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America' is unlikely to affect the funding plan for construction of the I-25 "Gap" between Monument and Castle Rock, according to El Paso County Commissioner Mark Waller, who successfully campaigned in November to convince voters to allow local tax dollars to help fund the project.

The President's plan calls for state and local governments to foot the majority of the bill for local highway, waterway, airport, and superfund projects.  In return, local projects can apply for and receive Federal grants to help fund up to 20 percent of the projects and enjoy accelerated completion timelines due to reduction of red tape.  The I-25 Gap project has identified more than 80 percent of its $350 million funding from local sources:  $250 million (71 percent) from the state, $10 million each (3 percent) from El Paso and Douglas Counties, and $15 million (4 percent) in voter-approved Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) funds.  CDOT has applied for a Federal grant to fund the remaining 19 percent, or $65 million.

"I don't think this is going to impact us at all," Waller said.  "I don't see this package as having a real impact on the way we do things now.  We haven't had a lot of Federal dollars coming our way and we've had to figure out how to do it on our own."

Grant applicants will be prioritized heavily on "evidence supporting how the applicant will secure and commit new, non-Federal revenue to create sustainable, long-term funding for infrastructure investments."  CDOT is leaning heavily toward making the new lane in the Gap a toll lane.  The President's plan gives states greater flexibility to utilize toll lanes to help fund infrastructure sustainability. "Providing States flexibility to toll existing Interstates would generate additional revenues for States to invest in surface transportation infrastructure," the plan states.

Many people, including Waller, oppose a toll on the new lane.  "I don't think that's the way to go, and I hope that our DOT, CDOT, doesn't engage in that practice and toll every single thing that's being built moving forward," Waller said.  "I think that'd be a disaster for our state.  Let's cut the red tape, get the dollars where they need to go, get them to truly shovel-ready projects, and get them moving forward."

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