The Colorado Department of Transportation is building new offices, spending upwards of $150 million of taxpayer dollars, according to a Denver Post article.
CDOT’s new offices do not need legislative approval, effectively giving the agency a blank check for swanky new offices while state roads are deteriorating.
Recently a legislator introduced an amendment to the state budget to appropriate approximately $100,000 toward fixing a very dangerous stretch of a state highway. CDOT approached this legislator and asked this individual to pull the amendment. They would “guarantee” a fix to the problem. Translation: CDOT did not want the legislature telling them how to spend taxpayer money. Because, you know, they might not be able to get swanky new offices.
CDOT argues that their current offices — built in the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s — are outdated and violate several federal laws. There’s potentially life-threatening safety issues, too.
We agree that no person should have to work in an office where they must worry structural issues that could threaten their lives. But $150 million offices? That seems like overkill. There’s no shortage of offices available in Denver inside buildings that already exist.
Between Colorado Springs and Castle Rock, there’s a 17 mile stretch of I-25 that routinely suffers massive traffic problems. According to The Gazette, CDOT could expand those lanes for less than the cost of their new offices. (We calculate roughly $100 million.)
Like many government agencies, it seems as though CDOT prioritizes their own comfort over the safety of Colorado drivers. Odd, considering the agency exists to “exists to ensure that Colorado has a safe and efficient highway system by building and maintaining interstates, US highways and state highways.”
Apparently safety can only be accomplished in swanky new offices for government employees and not the people they are supposed to be serving.