In case you missed it, this week U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper traveled across Southeastern Colorado to tout federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that’s already started flowing to rural towns across the state.
Hickenlooper, who helped negotiate and write the bill, visited Burlington, Granada, Lamar, Holly, La Junta, and Pueblo to talk about infrastructure needs the bill can help address in the coming months and hear directly from locals about the issues facing rural communities. Former Colorado Governor Roy Romer joined the two day tour through the Eastern Plains.
For a fact sheet on how the infrastructure bill will impact Colorado, CLICK HERE.
Rural Airports Connecting Colorado
Hickenlooper began the tour in Burlington with a visit to the Kit Carson County Airport which recently received an initial $159,000 from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, with more to come over the next five years.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill includes $25 billion for the nation’s airports.
“Rural airports are a lifeline to our rural communities,” said Hickenlooper, a member of the “Group of 22” senators who negotiated and wrote the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill. “They’re vital to the Ag industry, to rural health hospitals, and to keeping our state connected. Kit Carson County Airport is exactly the kind of infrastructure this bill is meant to invest in.”
In addition to touring the airport hangar facilities, Hickenlooper listened to local officials about challenges facing the region, including housing supply, affordability, and the need for high-speed broadband internet. Hickenlooper also heard about how local farmers rely on the airport for agriculture operations.
Pushing for National Protection of Amache Internment Camp
Hickenlooper then traveled to Granada and met with students from Granada High School at the Amache Museum who have worked to restore and protect the former Amache internment camp under the direction of Dean of Students, John Hopper. Hickenlooper, along with Senator Michael Bennet, has introduced the Amache National Historic Site Act, which would establish the Amache National Historic Site as a part of the National Parks System. The bill has passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on which Hickenlooper sits, and will next need to pass the full Senate.
Green Steel at EVRAZ Steel Plant in Pueblo
Hickenlooper visited the EVRAZ steel plant in Pueblo to see the site of a new, solar-powered mill that will produce green steel. Hickenlooper discussed clean energy investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill with EVRAZ leaders and local community officials.
Most of the harmful emissions produced by the traditional steelmaking process come from the large amounts of energy required to produce enough heat. By using renewables to generate that heat instead of fossil fuels, steel can be produced without the harmful emissions. Currently, steel production is responsible for around 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Sustainability with Denver Beer Co.
Earlier in the week, Hickenlooper toured Denver Beer Company’s production facility. The entire facility is a proof-of-concept for the approaches Hickenlooper advocates we’ll need to adopt widely in order to confront climate change. Powered by solar panels on the roof, the brewery captures its CO2 to reuse and drives an all electric fleet of vehicles to make deliveries.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill includes funds to develop carbon capture technologically at scale, to upgrade the electrical grid and power transmission, and to establish the first national EV charging network.
Hickenlooper also met with local residents and officials in Pueblo, La Junta, and Lamar to discuss transitioning workers, housing affordability, broadband, and other areas where the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will make a difference for communities across Colorado.