Colorado demonstrates power of private and public investment in infrastructure

DENVER, CO – Colorado has been recognized as a world leader in infrastructure innovation by the North America Strategic Infrastructure Leadership Forum. A panel of independent judges awarded two Colorado infrastructure projects with project of the year awards in separate categories. The North Metro Commuter Rail Line and Xcel Energy’s Clear Air – Clean Jobs Plan both received project of the year for their respective categories.

“These projects provide a vision for how our future could look with a robust economy and cleaner air as a result of greater investment in infrastructure,” said Tony Milo, Move Colorado board member. “It’s more challenging now than ever to find sources of funding for projects and we need to strike the right balance between private and public investment.”

Governor John Hickenlooper, formerly a geologist, was on hand to address the guests at the forum. He said the focus of Colorado was to become the most attractive state in the United States for business. Infrastructure is critical to that goal. He called for continued cooperation between local governments, and for municipal leaders to think of infrastructure projects in the context of the interests of the entire state.

Project Descriptions and Awards

Job/Opportunity Creation Project of the Year, North Metro Commuter Rail – The North Metro Rail Line is an 18.4-mile long commuter rail line that will run from Denver Union Station through Commerce City, Thornton and Northglenn to 162nd Avenue in North Adams County.

New Green Project of the Year, Xcel Energy’s Clean Air – Clean Jobs Plan – In late 2010, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission approved an emissions reduction plan for Xcel Energy under the state’s Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act. The entire effort is expected to have an average annual rate impact over the next 10 years of approximately 2 percent. Xcel aims to reduce nitrogen oxides by about 86 percent, sulfur dioxide emissions by 83 percent and mercury emissions by 82 percent from the plants included in the plan. Across Xcel’s Colorado power plant fleet, they intend to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 28 percent, exceeding the state’s carbon dioxide reduction goal of 20 percent by 2020.

Move Colorado supported the forum because of its focus on connecting investors with projects and finding new sources of funding. Funding has become scarce partly as a result of deteriorating state revenues, which has led to 52% of our roads being rated in poor condition and 33% of our highways requiring major rehabilitation or complete reconstruction. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average consumer spends $209 a month on entertainment. Compare that to the average Colorado driver who is spending $22.50 a month for federal and state gas taxes combined.