Referendums could revamp roads

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If voters approve Referendums C and D on Nov. 1, roughly $5 million will go toward two sections of highway in Moffat County.

The money will be refunded to taxpayers if the referendums fail.

The Colorado Department of Transportation will use money from Referendums C and D to widen Highway 13 near the Wyoming border and to resurface U.S. Highway 40 near Maybell.

Referendum C would allow the state to spend $3.1 billion during five years that would otherwise be given back to taxpayers under the Taxpayers Bill of Rights.

Referendum D is a bond for capital investments, including road projects. The bond would be paid off in part with 10 percent of the money from Referendum C.

Supporters call the joint referendums "Colorado's economic recovery plan."

Opponents call the referendums a "pick-pocket" scheme designed to take money from taxpayers.

Van Pilaud, resident engineer at the CDOT office in Craig, said if the referendums pass, CDOT crews will tackle numerous highway projects in Northwest Colorado.

"A tremendous amount of work could come out of this bonding," Pilaud said.

The work on Highway 13 would add 8-foot shoulders on five miles of road from the Wyoming border south, paid for with $4.8 million from the referendums.

"A large number of roads in Northwest Colorado are narrow," Pilaud said.

Widening the road will bring the roads up to date with federal standards.

The work would begin in 2008.

If voters reject the referendums, the project would be moved back and possibly become part of a project to widen a 17-mile stretch of road near the border.

"It will be done sooner or later," Pilaud said.

The money from the referendums would also fund resurfacing Highway 40 near Maybell.

Pilaud said CDOT will resurface a large section of road near Maybell with the referendums paying for about a four-mile stretch of the project.

CDOT has not yet determined how much of Highway 40 they will resurface.

Statewide, CDOT will spend $1.2 billion on road projects if the referendums pass.

CDOT spokeswoman Stacey Stegman said funds from the referendums would offset funding decreases in recent years.

"This money brings us back to where we would have been," Stegman said.

She said the department has lost almost $1.5 billion because of cuts in the state's general fund.

CDOT is not endorsing the referendums, Stegman said, it is merely trying to tell the public what they mean for the state's roads.


Brandon Johansson can be reached at824-7031 or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com

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