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May is coming to a close and June is just around the corner!  In this newsletter, you will find a note from CASTA on the Statewide Transportation Ballot Initiative, an update from CDOT and a special announcement from the Regional Air Quality Council.
Statewide Transportation Ballot Initiative will be Postponed to 2018
After a great deal of time and energy invested by stakeholders across the state for more than a year, the Colorado Contractors Association has made the difficult but smart decision to hold off on pursuing an initiated measure this year.
While public sentiment remains strong to find a solution, they feel, for many reasons 2018 may be a better time to go to the voters.
 
"We have spent more than a year studying and talking to voters to assess their concerns about our state's transportation system and willingness to invest in roads, bridges, highways and other transportation improvements," said Tony Milo, executive director of the Colorado Contractors Association. "Over the past three months, we developed several ballot questions, and then worked diligently to assess the best timetable to present voters with a ballot question. Through this research, we learned that 2018 may be a much better time for this election."
Key concerns, according to Milo, were voter confusion created by multiple issues being discussed for this year's statewide ballot and the uncertain dynamics of the upcoming presidential election.
"Voters expressed a lot of angst and uncertainty headed into November regarding the presidential election and an avalanche of ballot proposals being considered for this cycle," Milo said. "However, we also know that voters are becoming more concerned about safety and congestion on Colorado's roads-and they want action."
Coloradans' concerns about our state's transportation system is a major focus for almost all statewide, regional and local business and community organizations.
"While there have been a number of different efforts exploring how transportation funding in Colorado can be addressed, we all agree that our state faces critical transportation needs. The Chamber maintains its commitment to helping build a broad coalition in Colorado to develop solutions and ensure we can move people and goods efficiently and safely throughout our state," said Kelly Brough, President and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Driven by a significant backlog of state and local road improvements and congestion relief, the coalition took the lead in preparing several statewide ballot measures that focused on sustainable, statewide funding for mobility and safety, while ensuring accountability and transparency for taxpayers. The multiple ballot initiatives were submitted to keep several options available while additional research and discussions were conducted to assess how voters would respond.
"Through continued voter research, stakeholder engagement and statewide outreach, we plan to develop a measure for 2018 that best addresses the safety and congestion on our state's road, highways and bridges, while also assisting Colorado's diverse regions and local communities with their transportation needs," Milo concluded.
An Update From CDOT...
Greetings from CDOT -
We hope you had an educational time at the CASTA conference in Pueblo.  There were a lot of good sessions and we hope you learned something while you were there.  We wanted to thank those of you who participated in the events sponsored by CDOT including the regulatory sessions and the procurement meet-up with our state vendors.
We were most appreciative of those of you who joined us for the FTA funding discussion.  The next step in this process will be the development of two focus groups designed to work through the options in both the 5310 and 5311 programs.  We appreciate those of you who volunteered to participate in the focus groups.  Be on the lookout for more communication from David Averill and Jeff Sanders on dates and times.  If you were not able to volunteer for either of these groups and would like to, please contact your grant coordinator to be included.
It looks like the COTRAMS reimbursement process is successful.  While we have had some educational opportunities to make sure everyone is aware of the documentation requirements, in general, the process has been smooth and straightforward.  The next element of this process will be the link to CDOT's financial management system, SAP, to update your grants with actual balances.
In the meantime, we are beginning Phase V of the COTRAMS project.  The first two elements will be more work on the reimbursement module to include contractors, consultants, and others funded through state administration funds, construction elements, and more work to enable DTR to report on closed federal grants and the procurement module which will bring DTR's procurement process into COTRAMS.
The procurement module will include electronic approval of the procurement concurrence request, the procurement authorization, the notice of acceptance, the security agreement, and the submission of procurement documentation.  Look for this module to be live before the next capital call for projects.
Capital scopes are coming!  We have completed the transition of scoping to the Planning & Infrastructure Unit and are ready to begin pushing out draft scopes for awards made earlier this year.  As always, the Grants Unit will provide you with a draft scope (now automatically generated through COTRAMS) for review.  Once you have completed any required elements and returned the scope, we will be able to process the request for a grant agreement for the capital awards.
A reminder that FASTER funded projects (including those with FASTER match) cannot be scoped until after the start of the state fiscal year.  Please expect those scopes in July or August as there are additional steps to the project creation within CDOT's systems.
And finally, please be prompt when we request information from you.  Many of these requests (and we recognize there have been a significant number of late) are required of CDOT, many by the FTA.  Your prompt attention to our requests ensures that we can continue to meet the state's obligations to our funders.  If you have questions, please ask so we can all work together to respond to requests.
Enjoy the coming spring weather and be safe out there.
From the Regional Air Quality Control Council
"Transit Vehicles Now Eligible for RAQC's ALT Fuels Colorado Vehicle Grant"
Transit agencies are now eligible to apply for the Regional Air Quality Council's  ALT Fuels Colorado grant, with the next application round open from Monday, June 6th - Friday, July 8th 2016. ALT Fuels Colorado is funded through the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program in partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). AFVs under this application include new, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) compressed natural gas (CNG), electric, propane and CNG bi-fuel vehicles greater than 6,000 lb GVWR. Funding for AFV purchases is available for public, non-profit and private fleets operating predominately within Colorado's ozone non attainment and carbon monoxide maintenance areas. Additional program information, including a map of eligible areas, can be found on the CleanAirFleets.org website under the ALT Fuels Colorado tab. The RAQC will be hosting a conference call on Thursday, May 26th from 10:00  to 11:00 am where representatives from RAQC, FHWA, FTA, and CDOT  will discuss the grant, opportunities to combine the AFC grant with other sources of funding, and the process of flexing funds to transit agencies. Please contact the Program Coordinator, Kaylyn Bopp, at kbopp@raqc.org for the call-in phone number and/or additional information about the program."
Until Next Time!
The CASTA Crew