County has $225 million wish list ready, just in case

RBC — It’s uncertain if a federal economic stimulus package will ever become reality, but Rio Blanco County and the towns of Meeker and Rangely have their wish lists prepared, just in case.
In fact, combined infrastructure needs total more than $225 million.
Included are such big-ticket items as a new justice center for the county and new hospitals in both Meeker and Rangely, as well as several extensive road projects.
The list of projects was compiled in the event “the county should receive a truckload of money to spend on infrastructure needs,” said Rio Blanco County Administrator Pat Hooker. “The projects on the list are ones we identified that could be started right away … early to mid 2009. That was the basis for putting these projects on the list.”
Actually, the projects identified represent a partial list.
“I know the sanitation district, fire and emergency response districts, etc., potentially have projects to fund,” Hooker said. “Some of the (taxing) districts in the county may have submitted their project list directly (to the state), and I know the town of Meeker submitted its list through CML (Colorado Municipal League).”
The town of Meeker submitted two projects.
“The two projects I forwarded were the curb and gutter project, at $2.6 million, and the potential Second Street extension to Market Street, for which the feasibility study is not yet completed,” said Sharon Day, administrator for the town of Meeker. “CML had suggested that each entity notify them of their two top priorities, so that an estimate of infrastructure needs could be formed. At this point, there is no stimulus package, just talk that the new president may try to appropriate some funding for infrastructure needs.”
The price tag for the two hospitals — “new facility construction,” Hooker said — totaled $60 million, with the cost of building a new justice center estimated at $18 million. More than $140 million in road projects was identified, with the most expensive, by far, being the County Road 5 improvement project through the Piceance Basin, which came in at $120 million.
“It’s important to note, the dollar amounts are our best guess in today’s dollars,” Hooker said. “Of course, it may be several years before some of these projects are started, so the dollar amounts will no doubt change over the years.”