(CBS4)– Colorado could receive money from the newly signed infrastructure law as early as next month. While some of the money will be distributed through competitive grant programs next year, the Colorado Department of Transportation will likely see money for road projects right away.
In addition to nearly $4 billion for roads, Colorado is also expected to receive $225 million for bridges, tens of millions of dollars more for broadband, for pubic transit and electric vehicle charging stations.
President Joe Biden signed the bill into law Monday surrounded by supporters including Gov. Jared Polis, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper.
“You get a federal investment in infrastructure once in a generation, if you’re lucky,” said Hickenlooper.
He helped negotiate the bill’s passage and says it will fund not only hundreds of road projects but a new runway at DIA and clean drinking water,
“Denver still has too many homes that are getting their domestic water through lead pipes. We know that is not safe and yet Denver Water doesn’t have the resources to do it all at once. This is going to accelerate by 75%-80% how quickly we get those lines converted.”
The law could also speed the transition to electric vehicles. It includes a bill Hickenlooper wrote to make charging more affordable.
It also includes an amendment he introduced requiring the federal government to study the effects of marijuana on driving, “Hopefully we will get something similar to a breathalyzer that’s convenient, that can operate on the roadside and not be overly expensive.”
The law also includes money to upgrade the electricity grid for renewable energy, to clean up abandoned mines, and close the digital divide.
“We got almost everyone connected on broadband in Colorado but they don’t have high-speed internet up and down so they can’t really take advantage of what the internet can provide,” said Hickenlooper. “These are magnificent changes and I think it could very well be transformational.”
Biden announced a task force that will oversee the spending of the money to avoid waste. The law is a much-needed victory for the president, who is facing sinking approval ratings and the highest inflation in three decades. A total of 32 Republicans voted for the law but the president’s nearly $2 trillion social spending and climate bill has no Republican support. The House is expected to take that bill up this week.