Grand County rejects Granby Ranch bid for stimulus dollars
Sky-Hi Daily News
Harboring a remote chance for federal stimulus dollars, a Colorado Department of Transportation improvement project on Highway 40 at the intersection of the YMCA of the Rockies is without support of Grand County Commissioners.
Commissioners were approached last Tuesday by Granby Ranch representatives Kyle Harris and Tom Hale and asked to provide a letter endorsing stimulus dollars for acceleration and deceleration lanes on the highway near where CR 53 (to the YMCA) and CR 88 south and across the road connect to Highway 40.
“We have two dangerous intersections on this road, which clearly need to be improved, which benefits everyone who uses this road,” said Harris.
Future plans for CR 88 include creating an alternative route to Granby Ranch and surrounding neighborhoods. The road would serve as an emergency alternative to Highway 40. “It would be nice to have another access point if Red Dirt Hill is closed,” Harris said.
Because of its engineering “shovel readiness,” that section of Highway 40 was put on a C-list of projects in line for stimulus funds.
Garnering support from the YMCA of the Rockies, Grand County and Granby could give the green light to CDOT to build the acceleration and deceleration lanes with existing alignments using stimulus, Harris and Hale explained.
The $2.5 million-worth of Highway 40 lanes improvements had already been included in the state’s transportation improvement program, but without available funding, was on hold until 2012, according to CDOT.
Harris told commissioners that because CDOT aims to use all transportation stimulus funds allocated to the state, the Highway 40 project has a chance of moving up on the department’s priority list.
But commissioners remained guarded in signing off on the project, worried that the costs of realigning county roads 53 and 88 in the future to create a safer intersection might end up falling on the county’s shoulders.
“If we wait and try to figure out where the money is coming from on all sides,” Harris countered, “we’ve just lost out on the (stimulus money) that could potentially come.”
“I understand your argument on the parallel road,” said Commissioner James Newberry. “But you are going to take stimulus dollars to basically save you money in this development. And you are responsible for that intersection as a developer, and I don’t want to see my federal tax dollars go to that, so I’m not going to support this.”
“Nickels are pretty scarce these days,” Harris said.
Newberry reiterated his position.
It was clear commissioners were unwilling to provide the letter.
“Well it’s good to have direction,” Harris said in the end. “Even though it may not be the direction I’d hoped.”
– Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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