Colorado Democrats at infrastructure bill-signing share insight on state plans

Politics

DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado is set to see billions from the federal infrastructure plan, setting up the state for improvements to its roads, light rail and airports.

The trillion-dollar plan is set to allocate about $6 billion in different areas across the state. Colorado lawmakers say projects are expected to get underway starting in 2022.

State and local leaders say the money comes at pivotal time for the state.

“You’ll see the state moving forward rapidly in terms of infrastructure, and I hope that’s a reflection of the whole country moving forward rapidly,” U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper said.

“We’ve got about $6 billion critical infrastructure backlog in Denver,” Mayor Michael Hancock said. “This will allow us to really, I think, dig in and make a significant impact over years to come in terms of our investments around infrastructure. At the same time, we’re going to create thousands of jobs around this effort.”

The long-term plan looks to make the U.S. competitive among nations by updating our transit infrastructure to make it more modern and energy-friendly. As part of the package, Hickenlooper passed his first bill focused on electric vehicles.

“The utility is supplying the electricity to that recharging station. It makes sure they charge the going rate and that they don’t build in a bunch of additional cost for infrastructure. You need cost associated with that one recharging station. They want to make sure it’s part of the whole group with how everyone is using energy. It just makes it a lot more fair,” Hickenlooper said.

Gov. Jared Polis hailed it as a big victory for Congress.

“It’s good to see congress do something!” Polis said. “What I think we’re all tired of is seeing Republicans and Democrats fighting all day, and when they get together and say, ‘You know what? Republicans don’t like potholes, Democrats don’t like potholes, independents don’t like potholes — let’s fix it.’ To see them come together, get it done, work with the states and work with us, it’s really exciting for me as an American and certainly exciting as the governor of Colorado.”

While this is being held as a bipartisan win nationally, the vote did not go that way among Colorado lawmakers. Every Colorado Republican in the delegation voted against the measure. The Democrats advocated for its passing, and most of them were on hand for the bill signing Monday.

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