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EDITORIAL: Big new grant will unclog 'Gap' on Interstate 25, congrats to Colorado politicians

By: The Gazette editorial board
June 11, 2018 Updated: June 11, 2018 at 4:17 pm
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photo - Looking south toward Pikes Peak from just south of Castle Rock Monday, February 6, 2017 as traffic moves along a portion of I-25 that is currently two lanes each way. The federal government has agreed to add the I-25 widening project to its priority list of infrastructure projects. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Looking south toward Pikes Peak from just south of Castle Rock Monday, February 6, 2017 as traffic moves along a portion of I-25 that is currently two lanes each way. The federal government has agreed to add the I-25 widening project to its priority list of infrastructure projects. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

Congratulations to El Paso County commissioners, Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, Mayor John Suthers, and other politicians and community leaders too numerous to list.

Because of a unified effort to stand up for Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region, the Trump administration awarded El Paso County a $65 million grant to help widen the notorious I-25 gap between Monument and Castle Rock. The narrow stretch of I-25 is routinely clogged. When traffic moves at highway speeds, cars are too close for safety.

"As I've worked with the Trump Administration over the last several months, my number one priority has been to secure this extremely important opportunity," Lamborn said in a statement Tuesday. "I will continue working with this Administration to secure federal funding for Colorado's Fifth Congressional District."

Gardner and Bennet sent letters urging the U.S. Department of Transportation to approve the grant application, submitted by El Paso County commissioners.

Because of the grant, construction could begin this summer. When completed, the project will improve safety and speed mobility between Denver and Colorado Springs - the state's two largest metro areas.

A better connection between these economic hubs will benefit people throughout Colorado. It makes the Front Range more enticing for high-end businesses that create good jobs. It means more people will venture to the Pikes Peak region to recreate on holidays and weekends, and more will travel to Denver for concerts, sporting events, and other cultural amenities.

Only two years ago, state transportation officials told the public the permitting process would put improvements to The Gap 10 years into the future. Gov. John Hickenlooper, Suthers, and others declared the proposed time frame unacceptable. President Donald Trump ordered federal agencies to expedite permits for infrastructure projects. County voters chose to invest a collective tax rebate into fixing The Gap.

Great things happen when local, state and national leaders work together toward common and constructive goals. Let's get busy unclogging the gap and continue working toward advancements that benefit us all.

The Gazette editorial board

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