Gov. Jared Polis on June 17 signed a transportation fee and spending bill that seeks to inject more than $5 billion into Colorado road and transit projects over the next 11 years.
“Everybody knows we need to fix it,” Polis said of Colorado’s road and highway system before signing Senate Bill 260 under the curved I-70 bridge at the bottom of Floyd Hill, a structure over Clear Creek that chokes traffic and ruins the best-laid plans of skiers, snowboarders, hikers and bikers every weekend. “If it was easy it would have been done already.”
Among the visiting dignitaries at the bill signing, one was more at home than the others. Clear Creek County Commissioner George Marlin, standing on the banks of Clear Creek, underneath the aging I-70 overpass, said he found the choice of location for the signing to be quite apt.
“We’re standing at a great example of what happens when you neglect infrastructure,” Marlin said, pointing to wooden support struts used to shore up the old bridges.
Marlin said Clear Creek is at the nexus of the issues around transportation infrastructure and climate change.
“If you live in Clear Creek, you should get excited about a little less congestion, about less air pollution and getting more electric vehicles on the road to make highway noise a bit less,” he said while a steady stream of semi trucks rumbled overhead.
Marlin said that after watching so many statewide transportation efforts fail in recent years, he saw the threat of areas like the Denver metro area breaking off to create a “Balkanization of funding solutions” that would likely leave smaller communities and counties without a say and without funding.
“I’m grateful we found a solution that kept us at the table.”
-Jesse Paul with the Colorado Sun contributed to this report