CPR: “Part of the reason is Hickenlooper’s natural optimism, a trait he’s had since his entrepreneurial days”
Daily Sentinel: “We’ll take any positive sign that the system — so often reduced to dysfunction in the last decade — can still work”
In case you missed it, the Senate passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act earlier this week, which U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper helped author as part of a bipartisan group of 22 senators. The bill will jumpstart our transition to clean energy and electric vehicles, make roads and bridges more resilient to climate change, safeguard access to clean water, and expand Internet access.
News outlets across Colorado are highlighting what this bill means for our state. Take a look:
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: EDITORIAL: A return to bipartisanship?
Colorado stands to receive $5 billion for infrastructure upgrades under the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that passed the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
While that’s money that’s urgently needed (the Colorado section of the American Society of Civil Engineers has given the state’s infrastructure an overall grade of “C-”) the vote is noteworthy not just for what it will provide, but what it signals in terms of a functioning lawmaking body. The bill passed the Senate 69-30, but still has to pass the U.S. House.
“This bipartisan bill shows the world that our democracy still works,” Sen. John Hickenlooper said in a statement. “It comes in the nick of time as we face droughts, wildfires, mudslides, and aging infrastructure across Colorado and the nation.”
“We must fix our crumbling infrastructure and embrace our clean energy future,” said Hickenlooper, a member of the “G-22” group of senators who negotiated the bipartisan bill.
We’ll take any positive sign that the system — so often reduced to dysfunction in the last decade — can still work when experienced politicians work together for the good of the country instead of obstructing.
Colorado Public Radio: Hickenlooper And A Bipartisan Group’s Effort To Save The Senate From Itself
He didn’t know it at the time, but Sen. John Hickenlooper’s road to the Senate bipartisan group known informally as the G22 began over some beer and snacks.
“We’ve got to show the world, we’ve got to show America that democracy can work, that we can come together and do meaningful legislation that moves this country forward,” Hickenlooper explained. “And I think that’s a big part of why that group of 22 hung together.”
The group has defied some stiff partisan headwinds — hashing out negotiations over lunches and dinners for months, while a core group of 10 led talks with the White House and their respective parties.
“Everybody wrote it off,” Hickenlooper said. “And I am very proud to say that I never quit on it.”
Part of the reason is Hickenlooper’s natural optimism, a trait he’s had since his entrepreneurial days, when he had to believe there was a solution able to fix any problem that came along.
“That attitude is missing from a lot of the Senate. And part of my job is to give a little injection of positivity,” he said.
The Denver Post: What Congress’ giant infrastructure bill means for Colorado
Colorado will receive an estimated $3.7 billion for federal highway work and $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs over five years if the bill becomes law. Public transportation systems would get $917 million and $57 million would be spent on expanding the state’s network of electric vehicle charging stations.
At least $100 million would be spent expanding broadband infrastructure in a state where a recent report said 675,000 Coloradans lack reliable internet access.
Hickenlooper is a member of the bipartisan group of senators that crafted the package. Its passage represents more than just an investment in roads and bridges, he said.
“I am tremendously proud that we are demonstrating, not just to this country but to the world, that in American democracy, bipartisanship can still function and make a difference,” the senator told The Post, comparing bipartisanship to muscles that haven’t been used in a long time.
“Now that we have activated those old, forgotten muscles, what’s next? What can this bipartisan group of senators next turn their attention to?” he said. “That’s when we’ll really start to demonstrate that democracy is not broken. It’s certainly bruised but it’s not broken.”
Colorado Politics: Billions could head to Colorado with passage of infrastructure bill
Hickenlooper said he’s heard nothing but optimism and eagerness among Republicans and Democrats that this bill gets done.
“This is one of those things that everyone was surprised that it got done. There’s momentum,” he said. “People want to take a victory lap, get it voted on, passed and signed. I think it will be sooner rather than later”…
As to the specifics of the bill, Hickenlooper said having that kind of money for water — $55 billion in the entire bill — will go a long way toward addressing some of Colorado’s serious water issues.
He also noted there is money in the bill for the federal railroad administration, and some of that, perhaps $3 million, could find its way to the Pueblo Transportation and Technology Center.
Hickenlooper was optimistic that more would come to Colorado through the bill’s $43 billion to address extreme weather events. “We should get more than our share there,” he said Thursday. He also pointed to funding for airports, which could help Colorado’s smaller airports improve runways or hangers.
Aspen Daily News: Mountain towns hopeful federal infrastructure bill bridges gaps
The day before multiple mudslides ravaged Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., announced details of a trillion-dollar infrastructure deal.
And, while Glenwood Springs Councilman Charlie Willman hopes I-70 will reopen long before Congress finalizes a deal, he also believes the bipartisan legislation could fund other infrastructure undertakings farther down the road, like the city’s long-sought-after South Bridge project.
“We must fix our crumbling infrastructure and embrace our clean energy future,” Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper said in a news release Wednesday. “This bipartisan bill shows the world that our democracy still works. It comes in the nick of time as we face droughts, wildfires, mudslides and aging infrastructure across Colorado and the nation.”
The nearly $1 trillion infrastructure bill set to be debated in Congress in the coming weeks would send money to a wide range of priorities, from road and bridge repairs to expanding public transportation and broadband.
But the biggest boon for Colorado may not be money that would be spent helping move people around. It would likely come from the $8.3 billion the measure seeks for Western water projects.
“When I look at the three biggest things in this package for Colorado, water is first,” said U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper, a Colorado Democrat. “I think it’s going to be a lot more than a drop in the bucket. It’s going to be a watershed moment.”
Of the $8.3 billion, $300 million would go directly to carrying out the Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan, a seven-state agreement where each sacrifices to ensure there’s sufficient water to meet the demands of the 40 million people who rely on the river.
Hickenlooper said he thinks the congressional money is coming “coming in the nick of time.”
“This is exactly that moment where these kinds of investments can make a dramatic difference,” he said, citing the effects of climate change.