I-25 project ballot initiatives get a green light from voters

MGN

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Two ballot initiatives that will give money to the major I-25 widening project between Monument and Castle Rock appear to have passed, with nearly 100 percent of the ballots tallied Wednesday morning.

Both measures do not raise taxes, but did ask voters to take excess funds that have already been collected by the county, and put that money towards widening the highway.

Transportation issues 1A and 5B had a strong lead when the initial election results were released Tuesday night.

"We're going to be able to raise $25 million in local revenue to get our I-25 project going," said Mark Waller, El Paso County commissioner.

1A approved the county to take nearly $15 million in excess tax revenue and give it to the I-25 widening project.

About $1.5 million will also go to open spaces and restoration efforts for areas that were burned by the Waldo Canyon Fire and the Black Forest Fire.

"This is a great win-win for our community all around. Not just transportation, not just I-25, but those other areas as well, the areas we neglected during the great recession," Waller.

Issue 5B asked voters to keep $10 million collected by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority and also add the I-25 widening project to their list of priorities.

The money will go toward revamping I-25 in between Monument and Castle Rock, which includes adding an express lane.

The state has also dedicated $250 million towards the project.

Supporters are hoping a $65 million federal grant will also help chip away at the $350 million price tag.

They say having this community support makes the I-25 project more competitive for that grant.

"We let the federal government know how significantly this ballot initiatives passed, and I'm absolutely convinced we are going to get $65 million that we're asking for in federal funds. I'm absolutely convinced that we'll get that $65 million," Waller said.

It will be announced in spring whether or not the federal grant will be awarded to the I-25 project.

If everything goes according to plan, construction could start in 2019.

Election results are unofficial until Nov. 24, the deadline for the county clerk to report the results of the post-election audit to the secretary of state.