WESTWORD: http://www.westword.com/news/peter-smith-vows-protection-for-denverites-affected-by-i-70-expansion-9295370

Denver – I have lived in the Denver Metro area my entire life. And there have been few times I have driven up the I-70 corridor, or up to the mountains, or through Colorado springs where I have not complained about the quality of our roads and the investments that need to be made.

I am convinced that projects like the I-70 expansion are a necessary expansion for the safety of our citizens and growth of our state. However, there is compelling evidence that the EPA instructed the Denver Regional Council of Governments to amend their most recent air quality measurements and projections to support the approval of the project. It is possible to make the investments we need to modernize our infrastructure. However the growing pains of improving our infrastructure includes making sure those communities are not displaced, and that Coloradan’s health is not sabotaged.

I am writing you today to announce that I stand with the Sierra Club, the Cross Community Coalition, Citizens for a Greater Denver and the Elyria and Swansea Neighborhood Associations. CDOT, in concert with the EPA and DRCOG needs to devise a state of the art Road Dust Control action plan that greatly increases road dust control measures along the I-70 expansion area. Simply mysteriously changing the environmental reporting and analytics is no way to approve a massive infrastructure plan like this.

Additionally the neighborhoods surrounding the I-70 corridor plan are facing skyrocketing cost of living increases due to planned highway and city infrastructure improvements. All of these forces combined together are uprooting long standing Coloradans from the homes they have owned for decades. Outside consultants suggested almost $15 million needed to be spent in the surrounding areas of the I-70 corridor expansion to make up for the destruction of affordable housing in the expansion areas. Upon receiving that recommendation CDOT approved $2 million or 1/7th of the recommended money.

The areas of this expansion do not lie in the district I hope to represent. The power of being a bold leader in a strongly Democratic district is that I should be a member of the party that fights for what is right for ALL Coloradans. The Globeville, Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods are THE MOST POLLUTED NEIGHBORHOODS IN AMERICA already. We need leaders that are going to help the people in these communities once and for all. We must revisit the methods used to project automobile and road dust pollution in the area, develop the best road dust control methods in America to keep the air in this area safe, and CDOT must fund the full $15 million suggested investments to the surrounding areas to make up for the loss of affordable housing and to deter the cost of living increases.