$150 million for Colorado transportation projects requested by Democratic House members

Republicans decline to submit earmark requests as decade-long ban on ‘member designated projects’ ends

By: - May 20, 2021 4:50 am

Cars head south on Interstate 25 in Denver during rush hour traffic on on July 23, 2020. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)

Colorado’s four Democratic congressional representatives have requested more than $150 million in earmarks for more than two dozen transportation projects in their districts, concentrated in and around the Denver metro area, for the 2022 fiscal year.

The 25 “member designated projects” are among the first batch of earmarks requested by members of Congress in a decade, after Democrats reversed the ban on the practice that was imposed by House Republicans in January 2011. New rules enacted by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee aim to bring greater transparency to the once-controversial practice.


“Elected representatives know the infrastructure needs of their district and should be allowed to identify projects and advocate on behalf of their constituents in legislation,” committee chair Rep. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon, said in March. “With a transparent, efficient process in place to identify district priorities, coupled with good partnership from the Federal government, Congress can help put people to work on badly-needed infrastructure projects and transform the way we build and move.”

The new rules, however, were not enough to persuade any of Colorado’s three GOP House members to submit earmark requests of their own. In March, Reps. Ken Buck of Windsor and Lauren Boebert of Silt signed an open letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledging not to request any earmarks, which they called a “corrupting practice.” Nationally, 94 of 211 House Republicans declined to submit any earmark requests, while one Democrat, Rep. Katie Porter of California, also declined.

The specific projects backed by Colorado’s Democratic delegation range in size from the $500,000 requested by Rep. Joe Neguse for improvements to Loveland’s Big Barnes Ditch Trail to the more than $29 million requested by Rep. Jason Crow for the reconstruction of an interchange at Interstate 70 and Airpark Road in Arapahoe County.

The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will consider the earmarks requested by members of Congress for inclusion in a surface transportation reauthorization bill expected to be passed later this year.

Below are the transportation earmarks requested by Colorado House members for the 2022 fiscal year, listed by their project titles and sponsors:

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver: $33.5 million

  • $6,530,000: 16th St. Mall Reconstruction Program (City and County of Denver)
  • $13,500,000: Broadway Station at Interstate 25 Multimodal and Safety Improvements Project Phase 2 (Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure)
  • $7,930,000: Central Corridor Rail Replacement (Regional Transportation District)
  • $5,530,000: I-25 Valley Highway: Phases 3 and 4 ROW Acquisition (Colorado Department of Transportation)

Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Boulder: $20 million

  • $500,000: Big Barnes Ditch Trail Improvements (City of Loveland)
  • $2,000,000: Cameron Peak Post-Fire Emergency Funding (Colorado Department of Transportation)
  • $1,000,000: Colo. 9 Widening from Iron Springs to Frisco (Colorado Department of Transportation)
  • $4,000,000: Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnel Repairs and Upgrades (Colorado Department of Transportation)
  • $6,650,000: Frisco Transit Center (Colorado Department of Transportation)
  • $5,000,000: Colo. 119 and Colo. 52 Multimodal Intersection Improvements (Boulder County)
  • $850,000: U.S. 36 and Community Drive Roundabout (Colorado Department of Transportation)

Rep. Jason Crow, D-Aurora: $73.9 million

  • $800,000: Aurora Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan Update (City of Aurora)
  • $22,400,000: Bridge Street and Interstate 76 Interchange (City of Brighton)
  • $6,000,000: Easter/Havana Intersection Improvements (City of Centennial)
  • $1,500,000: Expansion of Gun Club Road (City of Aurora)
  • $10,000,000: I-25/Belleview Avenue Interchange Improvements (Arapahoe County)
  • $29,200,000: I-70/Airpark Interchange Reconstruction (Arapahoe County)
  • $4,000,000: U.S. 85 Highlands Ranch Pkwy to County Line (Douglas County Commissioners)

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Arvada: $25 million

  • $4,107,114: Federal Parkway Multimodal Transportation Improvements (City of Westminster)
  • $2,000,000: I-70 and 32nd Ave. Bridge Replacement (Colorado Department of Transportation)
  • $4,000,000: Peaks to Plains Trail — Golden to Jeffco Line Segment (Jefferson County)
  • $2,000,000: Peaks to Plains Trail — Huntsman to Rigor Mortis Segment (Jefferson County)
  • $1,095,872: Colo. 72 (Indiana St) Widening at UPRR (City of Arvada)
  • $10,000,000: Wadsworth Widening: 35th Avenue to I-70 (City of Wheat Ridge)
  • $1,750,000: West Colfax Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Project (City of Lakewood)


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Chase Woodruff
Chase Woodruff

Reporter Chase Woodruff covers the environment, the economy and other stories for Colorado Newsline.