DACONO — The Colorado Department of Transportation is seeking partnerships with cities and towns along the Interstate 25 corridor to fund development through toll lanes.
But Dacono, after hearing presentations from CDOT representatives, remains undecided on the proposed project.
The CDOT project — Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships (RAMP) — would coordinate project expenditures to fund multi-year projects based on year of expenditure, rather than saving for the full amount of a project before construction begins.
Currently, CDOT does not advertise a project until all of the money is “in the bank,” which means the department is saving money for projects over multiple years before construction begins.
Mayor Charles Sigman sent a letter to CDOT saying the city wanted to explore the issue further before committing to the project, which would require the construction of “high-occupancy vehicle” lane.
“From 120th [Avenue] to [State] Highway 7, what they want to do is take the fourth lane and turn it into an HOV lane,” Sigman said, explaining the project proposal to council Sept 9. “And what they want to do from Highway 7 to [State] Highway 66, take the third lane and make it into an HOV lane, which during peak hours they’d do it and essentially make it a toll lane.”
Sigman said the CDOT wants the toll lanes to help generate revenue for future development of the I-25 corridor, but every community along the corridor has to approve the project first.
City Administrator A.J. Euckert said efforts are underway to form a coalition of Weld County municipalities exploring CDOT’s offer.
“CDOT is putting on the full-court press for these RAMP funds. And dealing with a dedicated lane on I-25 for peak-price tolling,” Euckert said. “There’s a coalition – I know Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer and Weld County [have] been trying to put together a meeting of all the communities in the area.”
Euckert said that scheduling conflicts have prevented representatives from the various communities from gathering to discuss the project.
“This is a significant project with significant impacts in the area,” Euckert said. “It’s one of those things where it’s long-term, but the short-term impacts of it really need to be discussed.”
Sigman said he can see the “both sides” of the debate about the project.
“As a taxpayer, I already feel I’ve paid my fair share for that third lane, just to have it taken away to have to pay for it again,” Sigman said. “But on the other hand, funding for transportation has gone down quite a bit. The fuel tax that’s supposed to go for roads and things like that, that’s going down. It’s not getting any higher because you’ve got more cars with better fuel economy … so you’re not generating the revenue they once did there.”
He said for improvements to be made to the corridor, some sacrifices would have to be made.
“We definitely have to look at as a long-term project — what is the end result 15 to 40 years from now?” Sigman said.