Colorado set to lose millions in highway dollars

| Friday, October 03, 2003

Colorado highway officials are bracing for a $4.9 million loss in federal road funds this year because state legislators failed to drop the state’s legal blood-alcohol limit.

The federal deadline for states to lower the limit from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent was Oct. 1. Colorado’s decision to forgo the federal dollars and defy the mandate was essentially set in February, when a bill to lower the threshold died in committee.

As a result, the state could lose nearly $50 million in federal funds by 2007.

However, the state’s General Assembly can still recover the lost dollars. If lawmakers pass a law lowering the legal limit by October 2006, all yanked funds can be recouped.

The Centennial State is one of five states that refused to reduce the level at which motorists are presumed impaired. The others are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey and West Virginia.

Mairi Nelson, spokeswoman with the Colorado Transportation Department, told The Denver Post no major highway projects would be hurt by the financial loss. She said motorists could expect to see fewer guardrails and rumble strips.

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