Colorado law gives counties repair money for flood-damaged roads

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A new law in Colorado would help fix local infrastructure damaged by recent weather events.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law a bill that provides counties affected by last fall’s floods more wiggle room in their budgeting to repair roads and bridges.

“This will allow local county governments to rebuild damaged roads and bridges faster and ensures that counties will be able to recover from future natural disasters,” Rep. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, said in a news release.

Previously SB7, the new law allows county commissioners to use general funds for road and bridge work following declared disaster emergencies. It took effect immediately.

Supporters said the change was needed to make repairs more quickly. They note that until now counties could only use road and bridge funds for repairs. County general funds were off limits for such emergency uses.

Such policies left counties with significant needs no alternative other than to wait for federal assistance or for future years to come up with the money needed.

State estimates show that 485 miles of roadway was destroyed during flooding last September. As of the first of this year, more than $500 million had been applied to make repairs, but local officials said more money is needed.

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