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Gazette Premium Content Cimarron project competes for funds

By Garrison Wells Published: May 16, 2013

Arapahoe County wants funds to improve the Interstate 25 and Arapahoe Road interchange.

Pueblo County wants work done at two intersections on U.S. 50, and Denver wants to rehab RTD's Civic Center Station.

The $95 million Cimarron Street/Interstate 25 Interchange project has plenty of competition in its quest for Colorado Department of Transportation funds.

Altogether, the transportation department received 247 pre-applications in the first round vying for $1.5 billion over five years - that's $300 million a year - under Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships (RAMP), according to a news release. The program allows the department to advance funds for highway projects statewide.

Everybody wants a share.

Deadline for pre-applications, a review of the basic eligibility of the project, was May 1. Applicants that pass muster will be notified May 31.

For projects that move forward, the next step is more detailed applications that are due July 1.

Projects submitted by the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments included the widening of Colorado 21 (Powers Boulevard), the Old Ranch Road interchange on Colorado 21, the Fillmore Street interchange, U.S. 24/Garrett Road intersection improvements and U.S. 24/Judge Orr Road intersection improvements.

Craig Casper, transportation director at PPACG, did the math.

In all, he said there are $3.4 billion in requests from every region in the state and about $650 million available between RAMP and other state funds.

The Denver Regional Council of Governments is the biggest competitor to the Cimarron project.

Indeed, two of the DRCOG projects could easily eat up every dime of the available money - completion of the Colorado 470 loop and high occupancy toll lanes for I-25.

"DRCOG has some really big projects," Casper said.

The transportation department, he noted, "is going to be cognizant that every planning region gets a project."

That's good news for Cimarron and two other local projects, Casper said.

Cimarron "is a project that's been a priority in the state. It's on a strategic corridor that's been designated by the Transportation Commission and approved by voters. I think it's got a really good shot."

Two other projects that he said might get funded are the Fillmore interchange and widening of Powers Boulevard. Both were marked by the state as improvements that would help generate economic recovery.

"I think we have a pretty good shot at getting them all funded," Casper said.

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