Colorado receives proposal hinting at I-70 tolls

| Thursday, August 25, 2011

Transportation officials in Colorado will soon decide what to do with an unsolicited proposal they received from a private firm offering to improve I-70 using “innovative financing” that requires little or no state money. Even though the proposal is confidential for now, it strongly hints at a public-private partnership involving tolls as a way to relieve congestion.

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s innovative project team received the unsolicited proposal from Parsons, an international design, engineering and construction company from California, according to a statement issued by CDOT on Wednesday, Aug. 24.

CDOT says the specifics of the plan are confidential but that the private firm has identified improvements to Interstate 70 between C-470 and Silverthorne and eventually extending to Eagle in the future.

The description about funding hints at tolls or tolled lanes of some sort.

“The project includes an innovative finance opportunity that requires little or no public funding and a construction schedule beginning in mid to late 2014,” CDOT stated.

Colorado’s High Performance Transportation Enterprise, or HPTE, which is a division of the state DOT, will soon decide what to do with the proposal. The group says it is not soliciting proposals or accepting any additional unsolicited proposals until they decide on how to proceed with the Parsons offer.

State legislation created the HPTE in 2009 to help facilitate projects in Colorado that can ease congestion.

Even if the state agencies choose to formally review the Parsons plan, there’s no guarantee such a plan would come to fruition as proposed, officials stated. Any proposal using innovative financing for improvements to an interstate requires approval from the Federal Highway Administration and an environmental review.

Click here to read the state’s announcement about the proposal.

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