BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– The 50-year long contract to expand U.S. 36 is one step closer to being finalized despite an outcry of public opposition.
The High Performance Transportation Enterprise Board voted to move forward with the deal on Wednesday afternoon.
They will enter a private-public partnership with a third party that will control the HOV lanes. Tolls could be as high as $14 each direction.
The meeting was very full with several hundred people in attendance. It included an hour of public comment before the vote. That’s where multiple people had to be removed for speaking out of turn.
There was also a protest outside the meeting at the Colorado Department of Transportation headquarters where demonstrators showed their opposition for the plan.
“People make decisions for the general public without really allowing our voices to be heard, our opinions to be heard and I think that when it affects us so personally and for such a long time, we have a right to know,” said Drive SunShine Institute spokeswoman Lennie Duncanson.
Concerns from the public range from a lack of oversight to transparency and worries about the length of the 50-year contract.
The board maintained that the deal has been public and ongoing for years and it the right option for taxpayers.
“This plan has been a decade in the making. We have talked a ton with the public about that but we recognize that people are paying attention right now. That said there are a lot of misconceptions about what this product is and what it isn’t,” said CDOT spokeswoman Amy Ford.
The contract is considered to be a done deal by next week.
According to CDOT’s website: the High-Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) was formed to aggressively pursue innovative means of more efficiently financing important surface transportation infrastructure projects that will improve the safety, capacity, and accessibility of the surface transportation system, can feasibly be commenced in a reasonable amount of time, will allow more efficient movement of people, goods, and information throughout the state, and will accelerate the economic recovery of the state.