The Colorado Department of Transportation is about ready to sign a  50-year contract with private investors to help finance work on US Highway 36. It seems like a good way to fund expensive highway work, but a lot of people are saying this could be a terrible decision.

According to 9News the lease would be sold to an " out-of-country investment consortium" to partially finance the next phase of the HWY 36 project in exchange for the company collecting tolls until the contract expires.  Under the deal the highway would not but fully tolled, but would have one toll lane in each direction.

Internet rumors widely distributed this week via email stated CDOT was going to sign the deal with Plenary on Wednesday, but CDOT's Amy Ford told 9Wants to Know investigator Chris Vanderveen CDOT still wanted to hear from the public and legislators this week before signing the deal.

I believe some of those rumors come from this article that is asking people to sign a petition to "stop the rapid fire privatization of Colorado US 36, I-70, C-470 and I-25."

I don't have much knowledge about laws and regulations that come with contracts like this, but if the facts addressed in the petition are true, than this sounds like one scary deal for Coloradans. (Click here and read some of the claims.)

Yikes.

I think I'm going to have to do some more research on this one and I hope those that will ultimately make the decision are doing their reading too.

Hopefully a lot of question will be answered at the public meetings CDOT is holding about this issue:

  • Tonight, 2/12/14 at the City Park Recreation Center in Westminster at 6:30PM
  • Tomorrow 2/13/14 at the Louisville Recreation Center at 6:30PM

What are your thoughts on the privatization of Colorado highways like this? Is this deal going to be the first of many that come for other Colorado highways?

[9News]