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'It's Falling Apart': I-70 Project In Question

DENVER (CBS4) - The controversial Central 70 Project in northeast Denver could be in jeopardy.

Some lawmakers say the money for that project could be better spent on transportation elsewhere.

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State lawmakers met Wednesday to discuss future transportation funding. There's talk of scrapping the expansion of the Interstate 70 bridge, a $1.2 billion project tied up in litigation.

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Lawmakers would use that money in other parts of the state.

Opponents of the I-70 project testified before a committee that is charged with prioritizing transportation funding across the state.

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State Rep. Dan Pabon says delaying the project could free up hundreds of millions of dollars.

"If we don't have resolution there, I think it's incumbent on us as lawmakers to say 'let's prioritize our projects and maybe put them in places that can be shoveled and ready to go,'" said Pabon.

"If we don't fix that, it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when there will be a failure out there," said State Sen. Randy Baumgardner.

He has been open to almost any solution to transportation funding, but Baumgardner says abandoning the bridge isn't an option.

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"It's falling apart. Something has be done," said Baumgardner.

The Colorado Department of Transportation says most of the money comes from a fund dedicated to bridge repair and lawmakers can't touch it for anything else.

Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran, who represents the area, says the interstate shouldn't have been built there in the first place.

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Duran stopped short of saying lawmakers should intervene.

"I think we're going to be looking very closely to see how quickly a judge will make a decision on injunctive relief to halt the project," says Duran.

Pabon says, "we can't wait in this environment with this many people coming into the state of Colorado another minute."

Wednesday was the first of six meeting for committee.

It will come up with a package of transportation bills for the 2018 legislative session.

RELATED: Job Training For People Who Live Near Central 70 Project

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