Tom Walsh: Road construction a top priority for state

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— Road construction a top priority for state

Dear editor:

I am writing in response to the article entitled "Two-way Street," which ran in your July 31 edition.

The article discusses Baggs, Wyo., resident Midge Mixon's appeal letter to Gov. (Bill) Ritter regarding needed improvements on Highway 13. It is important to note that the reconstruction of Highway 13 between Craig and the Wyoming State Line is a top priority for the state.

In fact, it was listed as one of the projects to move forward should Referendum D pass in 2005. Unfortunately, voters did not pass Referendum D - a bonding measure that would have included $1.2 billion toward the repair and replacement of highways and bridges statewide.

As such, improvements to Highway 13 north of Craig, as well as additional projects south of Meeker and on Highway 131 south of Steamboat, are being designed but cannot move forward until funding becomes available.

Fortunately, Gov. Ritter has exhibited a strong commitment to improving Colorado's transportation programs and has established a blue ribbon panel charged with exploring finance and implementation options for the state's transportation system.

The 32-member panel, made up of a variety of stakeholders, began on April 5, and will continue meeting throughout the year before reporting back to Gov. Ritter at the end of 2007.

It is the top priority of the State Transportation Commission to maintain and preserve the safety and quality of our existing system, provide the necessary state match in order to make recent federally-earmarked projects whole and fund other priorities as determined by the state's transportation planning process (which begins at the local level).

Sincerely,

Tom Walsh

State Transportation Commissioner, District 6

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