SHARECOMMENTMORE

KUSA -State transportation officials will hold public meetings about a deal that would allow a private company to take over the operation of U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder for the next 50 years.

The first meeting is Wednesday night in Westminster. The second meeting will be in Louisville Thursday.

The Colorado Department of Transportation spokesperson Amy Ford tells 9Wants to Know the deal with Plenary Roads is set to go through "by the end of the month."

Last month, 14 Democratic state legislators asked CDOT to move the deal back by 60 days in order to allow them more time to dissect the details of an agreement that will impact Colorado drivers until at least 2064.

Under the terms of the deal, Plenary Roads will partially finance the second phase of the U.S. 36 project and in return will collect tolls on the corridor until the expiration of the contract. While the highway will not become fully tolled, it will include an HOV/toll lane in each direction when completed.

The "public-private partnership" was first allowed in Colorado under the terms of the 2009 FASTER legislation championed by then-Democratic Governor Bill Ritter. CDOT has said it plans on using the public-private partnership, or P3, model in order to help it finance major reconstruction projects on, among other major corridors, Interstate 70 in Denver and I-70 west of Denver.

Internet rumors widely distributed this week via email stated CDOT was going to sign the deal with Plenary on Wednesday, but CDOT's Amy Ford told 9Wants to Know investigator Chris Vanderveen CDOT still wanted to hear from the public and legislators this week before signing the deal.

On Wednesday, CDOT plans on holding a public meeting at the City Park Recreation Center in Westminster starting at 6:30 p.m. On Thursday, CDOT will hold a public meeting at the Louisville Recreation Center at 6:30 p.m. In addition, CDOT will meet with state legislators on Thursday to go over details of the plan.

CDOT has released an "executive summary" of the contract with Plenary, but has so far decided not to release the contact as a whole to the public because of what CDOT calls "proprietary financial information" contained in the contract's wording.

Under the terms of the deal as explained in the executive summary, CDOT would hand over general maintenance of the corridor to Plenary for the duration of the contract. That means such things as snow plowing and pothole repairs would be performed by private contractors and not by CDOT.