DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado could see billions of dollars in federal funding coming in to fix infrastructure problems statewide. The money is said to be part of President Joe Biden’s $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill that passed the Senate on Tuesday.
Colorado could see more than $ 5 billion over five years going to repair roads, replace bridges, improve public transportation, electric charging stations and $ 100 million to expand the Internet broadband statewide.
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The $ 3.7 billion that would go directly to repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation.
Keith Porter is a professor of structural engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder and an expert in natural hazard mitigation.
“Mitigation saves,” he said.
“It just means a better design, a design that takes climate change into account and paying a little more now to avoid much bigger losses in the future, when that next severe winter storm hits or when that next big flood happens. “Porter said.
While the Colorado Department of Transportation already has a number of projects underway, much of the attention to improvements is around Interstate 70 via Glenwood Canyon, where mudslides have kept the freeway closed for almost two weeks.
Porter, although not a CDOT engineer, says rebuilding this stretch with risk protection in mind would cost billions alone.
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“If you were to ask any of them how much to raise the causeway in Glenwood Canyon so that it is an overpass and mud can pass underneath, they would say it’s just too expensive,” a- he declared.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, Americans lose thousands of dollars each year due to poor infrastructure, such as roads, airports, aging power grids, and inadequate water supply.
When it comes to roads alone, Coloradians lose an average of over $ 600 each year.
“We don’t fix our potholes. You’re going to run over potholes and damage your suspension, and it might not be everyone in every car every year, but in the long run it costs everyone, ”Porter said. .
It’s the same story across the country and even though he says a trillion dollars sounds like a lot of money, he thinks it’s just the start.
” It’s not nothing. It’s not just a drop in the bucket, but it won’t solve the problem, ”he said.
The president’s bill enjoys bipartisan support. Colorado Senators Michael Bennett and John Hickenlooper voted in favor, but some Colorado Republicans have expressed concerns about the size of the spending and the impact on the country’s overall deficit.
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Gov. Jared Polis’s office said on Tuesday night that it would visit the I-70 damage in Glenwood Canyon and provide an update on the schedule for the freeway to reopen at 9 a.m. Watch her update on CBSN Denver.