From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Nick Coltrain):
He was coy about specifics except to say he’s built up solid relationships with federal officials during Colorado’s series of disasters, including having cooked dinner at his house for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.
“They aren’t going to bend any rules for you, but they’ll do everything they can possibly do to help us,” Hickenlooper told the editorial board of the Coloradoan on Thursday.
He predicted accelerated approval of recovery plans, which allows $62 million from HUD recovery money to start flowing. The plan dictates how it will be spent.
“I think we’re going to get some very encouraging news in the next week,” he said.
Hickenlooper added the federal government has pledged tens of millions more for disaster recovery above original predictions. HUD pledged almost $200 million in March, on top of the original grant.
The Colorado Department of Transportation’s plans call for rebuilding roads to better withstand the floods that devastated Northern Colorado in September, he said. It could even include a 6-foot-wide bike path up the Big Thompson Canyon, though it doesn’t have set money yet.
“We’re not just going to build it back to what you had before, we’re going to build it back better than before,” he said.