LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) – The federal government has rejected Colorado’s application for $270 million to protect communities from natural disasters, including parts of Colorado hit hard by wildfires and flooding in recent years.

Colorado was one of 40 finalists, but the state did not get any of the $1 billion for projects approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Colorado officials say there was stiff competition from other states that had natural disasters over the past five years. Federal officials have not said why Colorado was rejected.

Part of the federal funding would have been used to improve Interstate 25 in northern Colorado, hit hard by the flooding.

“Everyone was a little surprised at this disappointing turn of events for sure,” Larimer County Commissioner Tom Donnelly said. “We will just have to take smaller bites of the apple.”

The city of Longmont requested $130 million in an effort to reduce the flood plain of the St. Vrain River.

Longmont officials say their project will take between seven and 10 years to complete. The city already has raised $72 million from federal and local sources.

Longmont City Manager Harold Dominguez said the city will continue to find money for the project.

“We have three years of work to do,” Dominguez said. “There are other opportunities and other federal grants we’ll continue to apply for.”

The city has already started work on part of the project.

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