Colorado’s state government has asked federal officials for $116 million in emergency aid to deal with this month’s mudslide damage to Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon.
Gov. Jared Polis and Colorado Department of Transportation executive director Shoshana Lew made the request Sunday in a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation — and they want 10% of the money, $11.6 million, to be sent almost immediately.
“While Coloradans understand the magnitude of destruction, the disruption to people’s lives and livelihoods grows as the interstate remains closed,” Polis and Lew wrote. “Federal support, including quick release of funds, will greatly assist our efforts to restore functionality to the interstate and allow people to have the connectivity they rely on.”
I-70 through Glenwood Canyon has been closed indefinitely since a major overnight rainfall on July 31.
The Federal Highway Administration has an emergency fund that can be tapped for when natural disasters and catastrophic failures damage federal highways. About half of the $116 million that Colorado is looking for would be spent on removing debris and repairing the interstate. Another $50 million would go to a study of the highway’s resiliency and $10 million is needed for improving state highways that are serving as detours, according to Polis and Lew.
On Saturday, Colorado’s entire congressional delegation wrote to the U.S. Department of Transportation, urging the agency to quickly approve funding for I-70.
“After over a year of oppressive lockdowns, businesses and communities in Colorado are once again suffering, this time as a result of I-70’s closure from massive mudslides,” said U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, the Republican who represents the area in Congress.
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