Funding Options for North I-25

To keep you in the loop on efforts to widen I-25, here’s the latest.

First, to quickly restate the issue, the 26 mile stretch between Highway 14 (Mulberry) in Fort Collins to Highway 66 north of Longmont is increasingly congested. This is especially true between Harmony Road and Highway 34 in Loveland. The Colorado Department of Transportation does not have the $1 billion it will take to widen I-25 in what is the fastest growing part of the state. Unless addressed, within 15 years it will routinely take 3 hours to get to DIA and Denver.

In early 2014 an advocacy initiative called the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance (www.FixNorthI25.com) was founded by the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance to lobby for the funding. I’ve periodically provided updates in the Chamber’s weekly SmartBrief e-newsletter and on my blog.

About $99.5M of funding has been directed toward capacity improvements on North I-25 over the past 16 months or so.

Some of our recent activities include:

  • The Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance has had members of the area legislative delegation in for discussions. So far we’ve met with Representatives Joann Ginal, Jeni Arndt and Dave Young and Senator John Kefalas. The conversations were on a variety of topics with an emphasis on I-25.
  • The Fix North I-25 Business Alliance Steering Committee held two long meetings to grind through all of the known funding options for North I-25. The purposes were two-fold: elevate our understanding of each of the sources; force ourselves to declare what we really believe about all of the options. The reason this matters is that it helps us spend time where it is most productive and helps us shape our 12-18 month lobbying plan. Any of you interested in the committee’s work products are welcome to them.
  • Related to the above item, the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance Steering Committee encouraged the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to create a document called “Viable Funding Sources for the North 1-25 Corridor.” It is being used to get local elected officials up-to-date on options.
  • I am moderating a panel this week for the Associated General Contractors of Colorado at The Ranch. The panel is discussing big issues including water development, economic development marketing, flood recovery and I-25.
  • We are having a series of conversations and meetings with allied business associations to get in alignment around highway funding in Colorado. Groups include the Associated General Contractors, Club 20, Progressive 15, Colorado Springs Business Alliance, Colorado Motor Carriers and the Colorado Contractors Association, among others.
  • The Fix North I-25 Business Alliance was a Gold Sponsor of the state chamber’s annual meeting last week. In addition to getting the standard sponsorship visibility, our attendees asked questions of the keynote speaker, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, and he mentioned I-25 and Northern Colorado multiple times in his remarks.
  • NCLA is combining efforts with the MPO to do a Regional Issues Summit on December 11. NCLA will highlight its regional agenda, but especially focus on I-25.

Keep the faith. We’re making slow but sure progress.

We can use more financial resources to execute our lobbying and communication plans. If you want to see I-25 improved sooner rather than later consider helping out. Give me a call at 482-3751 x 102 or drop me an email at davidmay@fcchamber.org.