New CDOT Director Michael Lewis Has $645 Million To Spend. Where Will It Go?

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Photo: I-70 After Overhaul
An artist's concept from 2015 of how I-70 could look after a long-planned overhaul: the roadway is wider, lowered below grade and covered in one section.

When Gov. Hickenlooper tapped Michael Lewis to lead the Colorado Department of Transportation last November, the CDOT second-in-command wasn't facing an empty desk. The agency was involved in a controversial expansion of Interstate 70. Road fatalities were on the rise. And the first few months of his tenure were kneecapped by a ransomware attack that shut down thousands of computers.

But today, Lewis is looking at a windfall: the legislature just agreed to spend $645 million on transportation over the next two years. The legislature also opened up the possibility of asking voters to borrow more than $2 billion.

There could be even more measures on the November ballot to raise money for roads, including possible bonds or sales tax increases.

Lewis talked to Colorado Matters about how those funds would be budgeted, and what his priorities are as CDOT executive director.