Half-century Later, I-25 is Same Size

A month ago I posted an entry about I-25 and highway funding in Colorado. These days I spend a lot of time on this issue. Occasionally other duties languish a bit, but the economic risks and payoffs related to I-25 are high so it’s the best use of my time for the foreseeable future.

While more optimistic than I have been over the last several years, getting a transportation funding bill passed this legislative session is still a long shot. The two political parties have been careful not to slam the door on finding a compromise, but there is always an undercurrent of partisan politics.

That was on display last week at a public event by Colorado Business Roundtable and Fix Colorado Roads (one of the groups we founded). I was on a panel with leaders from Vail, Colorado Springs and the western slope. That was followed by comments by CDOT Director Shailen Bhatt. The grand finale included remarks by Senate President Kevin Grantham (R) and Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran (D) and a Q&A session with them.

Both leaders played their cards close. No major breakthrough announcements were made, but there were subtle signals that they are still talking and might find common cause.

That event was followed the very next day by the Chamber’s Annual Dinner. At the end of the evening, 2016 Chair Kevin Unger and 2017 Chair Lucia Liley presented the prestigious Collins Award to David Wood. Mr. Wood, as Chair of the Chamber 50 years ago, attended the ribbon cutting in 1967 of the new interstate. He said the construction project was like the building of the Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s. One construction crew started in Longmont and worked north and another in Cheyenne and worked south. They met a few miles south of Wellington.

Mr. Wood said, it’s unbelievable to think that we’re still driving on the same interstate. Everybody in the room got what he was saying: a half-a-century later and the population of Northern Colorado has grown significantly and the interstate isn’t any wider now than it was then.

Probably about time to fix that.