Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

Press Release - US 36 Project Receives TIGER Grant Funds




February 17, 2010

Stacey Stegman, 303-757-9362,
Myung Oak Kim, 303.947.5708,


DENVER— Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that Colorado will receive $10 million for the U.S. 36 corridor project between Denver and Boulder as part of the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant Program. The U.S. 36 project is one of 51 projects selected across the nation to receive funding despite over 1,400 applications from all 50 states.

The TIGER Grant Program was included in the Recovery Act to spur a national competition for innovative, multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional transportation projects that promise significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, a region or the nation.

“Every state is facing transportation challenges and the TIGER grant program was designed to help our nation address some of the most critical needs while helping our economy,” said Governor Bill Ritter. “We are very excited that the USDOT has acknowledged U.S. 36 as one of the 51 most important and most valuable projects in the country right now.”

The U.S. 36 project submitted in the TIGER Grant application would improve a portion of U.S. 36 between Boulder and Denver as determined in the U.S. 36 Environmental Impact Statement and is estimated to cost either $160 million or $260 million, depending on construction phasing. Improvements to the entire U.S. 36 corridor are estimated to cost $1.3 billion and would likely be constructed in multiple phases.

Grant monies received will be used to construct the infrastructure for managed lanes/bus rapid transit on a portion of U.S. 36 from Boulder to Denver in order to reduce congestion and encourage more energy efficient modes of transportation. It will include one managed lane in each direction on U.S. 36; bus rapid transit operations for the corridor; a commuter bikeway; and an intelligent transportation system for toll collection and incident management.

“This $10 million grant is a big step forward for this project,” added Ritter. “Additionally, we hope that this commitment is a first step in obtaining additional federal funding through future grant opportunities over the next several years, including the Reauthorization of SAFETEA-LU, which sets future federal funding levels.”

In addition to the $10 million received under the TIGER Grant, Colorado will have an option to seek additional funding through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFA) Challenge Grant. Through this grant, sponsors will be given the option to accept grant funds or to use those grant funds to pay the subsidy and administrative costs for TIFIA credit assistance (direct loan, loan guarantee or line of credit) for the project.

The statutory language in the Recovery Act permits up to $200 million from the TIGER Discretionary Grant program to be used for these purposes. Each project being offered a TIFIA Challenge Grant is a major highway project with planned or potential revenue streams that could be used to support credit assistance. Each of these projects requested extremely high funding amounts (between $100 million and $300 million) that could not be met in a program the size of the TIGER Discretionary Grant program.

In the coming days, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and its partners, the Regional Transportation District and local government agencies along the corridor, will learn more about the TIFIA Challenge Grant and determine if this is a feasible option to complete the funding for this major corridor improvement project. The decision will also help determine how the $10 million will be used to improve the congested corridor.