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Colorado Senators celebrate millions for Southwest Colorado projects

Congressional earmarks include $1.5 million for a stoplight in Bayfield
Sens. John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet secured $129 million in Congressionally Directed Spending for projects across Colorado.

Colorado’s senators are celebrating the passage of six federal spending bills that will bring over $5.5 million to projects across Southwest Colorado.

Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper both successfully earmarked $1.5 million for a stoplight in Bayfield and $3 million for the Rock Creek affordable housing project in Ignacio.

The two also secured $1 million for vocational training at schools in Pagosa Springs and $2 million for the Moguan Aftercare Housing Facility in Towaoc.

The earmarks are part of a larger appropriations bill that was signed by President Joe Biden last week containing six of the 12 necessary appropriations bills to fund the federal government. The bills contain over $129 million in funding for 120 projects in Colorado.

Rep. Lauren Boebert also requested funding for the Bayfield stoplight, and patted herself on the back for securing the allocation during a visit with La Plata County commissioners last summer.

However, she ultimately voted against the spending package. Her spokesman did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

The $1.5 million directed to the Colorado Department of Transportation will be used to build a new lighted signal at the intersection of U.S. Highway 160 and East Bayfield Parkway.

“That intersection has been on my radar for many years,” said La Plata County Commissioner Matt Salka, who previously served as mayor of Bayfield.

He said that light will slow down traffic traveling between the intersection and the light on the west side of town.

“I am hopeful for it pulling down that speed between those two lights, which will improve the safety and well-being of everyone in Bayfield,” he said.

Congress has six appropriations bills left to pass for the 2024 fiscal year. Biden released his draft 2025 budget Monday.

“Throughout this process, I’ve sat down with municipalities, nonprofits and leaders across the state to hear directly about the challenges their communities face,” said Bennet in a statement made through a spokesman. “I’m glad we were able to support nearly eighty projects across thirty Colorado counties in this round of funding. From helping build affordable housing for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe to making our highways safer for everyone, these investments will help Coloradans in La Plata County and across the state meet the changing needs of their communities.”


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