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Could Trump's infrastructure plan help Colorado's worsening traffic problem?

Posted at 12:24 PM, Feb 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-12 20:34:19-05

DENVER -- There's no question that Colorado roads need some TLC.  From aging bridges, to potholes, to narrow lanes, an overhaul is clearly needed.

On Monday, President Donald Trump today announced he wants to make good on a campaign promise by unveiling a massive infrastructure package.

"The framework will generate an unprecedented $1.5 to $1.7 trillion investment in American infrastructure," said Trump.

The win could be seen as a victory for Republicans, although the fiscal hawks in the party would essentially be adding hundreds of billions to the federal deficit.

For the Democrats, they are skeptical that structure of the plan won't do enough and puts the burden on the cities and states to foot much of the bill.

"Infrastructure's a win for everyone. Members of Congress like infrastructure projects; it shows that they've done something. They can go home, they can do a ribbon-cutting,” said Michele Nellenbach of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Colorado is trying to find a way to pay for upwards of $9 billion in priority improvements statewide. In order to get money to work on I-25 and I-70, Coloradans can't just sit still.

“Colorado will not get a check from the feds for $9 billion to get everything done,” said CDOT’s Amy Ford.

The president wants Colorado to generate its own money, and then maybe the feds will pitch in to help.

"They have to bring new revenue to the table. They have to come to the federal government and say, ‘This is how we're going to raise new revenue to fund this project.’ And if they do that, then they qualify for that pot of money," said Nellenbach.

This move could be yet another way for Colorado to push a new tax, or raise one in order to get more money.

In addition, get used to the term “public/private partnership.” It’s a move proposed in the president’s budget that proponents say could be good for the road builders and maybe good for residents.

"So they are looking to states like Colorado to also think about how we partner and match any kind of funds they may put into infrastructure," said Ford.