by Pam Zubeck
This morning the CDOT Transportation Commission approved $1,000,000 toward the Southwest Chief TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Grant application. This is the first time the State of Colorado has approved funding for the SW Chief. Last year, 12 Southeastern Colorado communities provided local matches to secure the successful TIGER Grant submitted by Garden City, KS. This year the City of La Junta is the lead applicant for the TIGER Grant. Colorado now joins Kansas, and several communities in both New Mexico and Colorado in providing funds toward the grant application.
Several residents from Southeastern Colorado made the trip to testify at the Transportation Commission, including La Junta City Manager Rick Klein, Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace and Senator Larry Crowder. Commission Member Bill Thiebaut made a motion to use contingency fund dollars towards the grant. The motion likely saved the funding resolution, as bus advocates argued against funding the grant from transit funds.
In a statement, Sal Pace said:
"This was a huge victory today for the Southwest Chief and all of Southern Colorado. This is the first time Colorado has put money toward this important project. We owe a lot of gratitude to Commissioner Thiebaut, whose savvy was key to today's success, and to La Junta City Manager Rick Klein, who has taken on the tireless task as the lead applicant for this TIGER Grant application. Finally, the Governor's Administration and CDOT promised to help and they did! Now, we move forward with our Grant application, which is even stronger than the one submitted last year that successfully received $12 Million from the USDOT."