Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) launched a new transportation initiative Wednesday that would include millions in federal funding for road projects aiding military installations and communities in the Colorado Springs and El Paso County area, a Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) press release announced.
The plan, totaling $128.5 million in specific road projects, aims to improve safe and efficient access along several key highways and roads vital to connecting the Pikes Peak Region’s military installations and facilities, according to the release.
Earlier this week the state applied for a federal $25 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development or BUILD Grant that would be included in a four-part funding initiative, along with CDOT, state and local partners committing the funding balance.
“The vitality of the Pikes Peak Region is key to the state’s continued success,” Polis said in the release. “With military personnel we host and support, along with 100,000 veterans living in El Paso County, it’s imperative that we hear their perspective and, more importantly, that we take real steps, such as applying for the BUILD Grant, to help ensure that our military installations can be safely and predictably accessed, even with the challenges of our growing population.”
The push for the new transportation initiative and grant application is well timed, according to the release, as Colorado remains as a finalist for DOD’s new space command.
“It is one of the core functions of, particularly, the interstate system, to support our network of national defense,” CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew told Fox21 News.
“These projects I think are important for catch-up, but they’re also important for the critical access point we see in this region,” Lew said. “We know that the military installations are the critical drivers for the Pikes Peak area.”
The total economic impact of the Defense Sector in Colorado is 7.9% or $36.6 billion.
Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley