Spread the Credit for I-25 Success

Feb 5, 2019 | Uncategorized

At a couple of economic update events recently, the widening of I-25 came up several times. The Chamber was recognized as a leader of this effort.

It is true that the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce has been a leader in the lobbying effort to secure money to get the interstate widened. We are quick to say, however, that we are a cog in a very big machine. There is an alliance of organizations and individuals that have invested substantial financial resources, time, and leadership to get the results to-date.

I don’t think it’s out of line to say this two-county, public-private effort has been one of the most successful regional collaborations in our lifetime.

I’ve thanked the partners from various public stages, in this space, in media interviews, and in columns I have authored in the local papers. And I want to do so again to rightfully credit those who deserve it.

The risk here, of course, is that the list is so extensive that it’s easy to inadvertently overlook someone. So, apologies in advance if that happens.

I-25 Coalition. This is a group of the 13 or so government entities for the towns, cities and counties along the corridor north of Longmont. Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer deserves special praise as the convener of this group.

The individual towns, cities, and counties. The city and town councils and council commissions in Northern Colorado have provided $55 million of funds for I-25. Special thanks to Larimer County Commissioner Tom Donnelly and Fort Collins Mayor Pro Tem Gerry Horak for their strong leadership.

Colorado of Department of Transportation. Region 4 CDOT Director Johnny Olson is a wonder. He has provided proactive, creative leadership to advocate for solutions and funding to get I-25 widened. Thanks also to our area’s Transportation Commissioner Kathy Gilliland, past CDOT Executive Directors Shalien Bhatt and Mike Lewis and their headquarters team, and the full Transportation Commission.

Colorado’s Congressional delegation has been an advocate when the transportation bill was passed a couple of years ago and when grant applications have been filed.

The North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization board and staff have played a big role in making I-25 a priority and managing some of the grant applications.

A big thanks is owed to the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance Steering Committee and the Board of the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance, under which Fix North I-25 resides. Members of Fix North I-25 meet briefly every week to work on this project. They are- Chair: David May, Vice Chair: Barbara Koelzer, Carl Maxey, Pete Gazlay, Ann Hutchison, Brian Delgrosso, Sarah MacQuiddy, Mindy McCloughan, Bill Becker, Rich Werner, Steve Tool, Tom Norton, Dave Clark, Robert Schutzius and Ryan Fertig.

Supporting the work of the I-25 Coalition and the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance is Sandra Solin. She is with Capitol Solutions and is the glue that holds all of this together.

Finally, the 100 investors of the Chamber’s 5-year key strategic initiative campaign Northern Colorado Prospers pay for the lobbyist, media and communications experts, public opinion polling and other related expenses that something this big entails.

This is a team project, and our success to date in securing $615 million is due to many helping hands.

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For an update on North I-25 go here.