A decade ago, a study commissioned by the Denver Chamber of Commerce found that congestion on Interstate 70 was costing Colorado more than $830 billion in lost economic activity every year.
Since then, things have only gotten worse, particularly in the mountain corridor where narrow, steep and windy terrain forms a choke point. Highway closures are common here, particularly in the winter, and each hour that cars aren’t moving costs about $1 million in stalled commerce.
For the people the live here, however, these numbers are just abstractions.
“If you live in Summit County, it’s a road you use to go to church or to take your kids to school or to the soccer game — it’s like our Main Street,” Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs said on Friday during a visit by U.S. Senator Cory Gardner.
Gardner, a Republican, was meeting with local members of the I-70 Coalition, a group of governments and businesses from Jefferson to Eagle County that advocates for improvements to the strained highway.
Hopes that the state Legislature would infuse the Colorado Department of Transportation with some badly needed cash died last session, so talk at the meeting in the Frisco Town Council chambers quickly turned to how the federal government could help — perhaps with President Trump’s promised infrastructure funding package.
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“Tax reform is next, but I think infrastructure is going to be toward the tail-end of that,” Gardner said. “I do think if you do the overseas earnings part of that right, you can use that tax reform to kick start your transportation effort and your infrastructure effort.”
Gardner was referring to…
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