Trans­porta­tion

The Denver Post - - NEWS - Den­ver Post staff writ­ers Kevin Simp­son, Monte Wha­ley, Jesse Paul and Jon Mur­ray con­trib­uted to this re­port.

would stag­nate,” said Dan Pow­ers, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of CO-LABS, a con­sor­tium of Colorado’s fed­eral re­search labs and in­sti­tu­tions. “In some ways, it’s hard to know what would be lost if there are whole­sale clo­sures of de­part­ments and projects within labs.”

More than 30 re­search labs and in­sti­tu­tions that re­ceive 51 per­cent or more of their fund­ing from fed­eral sources em­ploy over 7,800 em­ploy­ees in Colorado, Pow­ers said. The work at those labs and in­sti­tu­tions spans mul­ti­ple in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing agri­cul­ture, re­new­able en­ergy, cli­mate sci­ence, dis­ease re­search and forestry, and has im­pacts that rip­ple across the na­tion, he said.

The po­ten­tially im­pacted also in­clude the Na­tional Re­new­able En­ergy Lab­o­ra­tory in Golden, which has 1,700 reg­u­lar em­ploy­ees. Its fund­ing for fis­cal year 2016 was $386.6 mil­lion, 80 per­cent of which came from the Depart­ment of En­ergy, while the re­main­ing 20 per­cent came from grants from other fed­eral agen­cies.

Other fed­eral in­sti­tu­tions that could be af­fected in­clude the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion, which has more than 1,000 work­ers in its Boul­der lab, and the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Stan­dards and Tech­nol­ogy, which has more than 650 work­ers in Boul­der. Both are funded by the Com­merce Depart­ment.

Pub­lic broad­cast­ing and arts

The pro­posed bud­get would elim­i­nate the Cor­po­ra­tion for Pub­lic Broad­cast­ing’s $445 mil­lion bud­get en­tirely, which could have vary­ing im­pacts on Colorado’s sta­tions. Although na­tional pro­grams PBS and NPR get most of the at­ten­tion, 90 per­cent of CPB’s bud­get goes to­ward lo­cal sta­tions.

Fed­eral fund­ing from CPB typ­i­cally ac­counts for 15 to 20 per­cent of Colorado Pub­lic Broad­cast­ing’s an­nual bud­get, spokes­woman Pam Parker said. The cuts would likely af­fect pro­gram­ming right away, although she spec­u­lated that it would hurt the na­tional pro­grams more. Colorado’s ru­ral and in­ner city com­mu­ni­ties would be par­tic­u­larly af­fected, she said, as peo­ple rely on them for pre-school pro­gram­ming, such as “Sesame Street.”

Fed­eral fund­ing ac­counts for 5 per­cent of Colorado Pub­lic Ra­dio’s bud­get, which comes out to $893,000, CPR spokes­woman Lau­ren Cameron said.

To pre­pare for these types of sit­u­a­tions, CPR started to in­clude an­nual bud­get sur­pluses to off­set any loss of CPB fund­ing six years ago.

The Na­tional En­dow­ment for the Arts would also be elim­i­nated as Trump’s pro­posal drops its $148 mil­lion bud­get, cut­ting off a pipe­line that fun­neled $51.5 mil­lion into Colorado arts be­tween 19952015. The agency gave 18 grants to Colorado or­ga­ni­za­tions for 2017, to­tal­ing $355,000. Its re­cip­i­ents range from large cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions, such as $45,000 to both the Den­ver Art Mu­seum and Den­ver Botan­i­cal Gar­dens, and small cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions, such as $10,000 to Su Teatro.

“We are dis­ap­pointed be­cause we see our fund­ing ac­tively mak­ing a dif­fer­ence with in­di­vid­u­als of all ages in thou­sands of com­mu­ni­ties, large, small, ur­ban and ru­ral, and in ev­ery Con­gres­sional district in the na­tion,” NEA chair­man Jane Chu said in a state­ment Thurs­day.

One pro­gram that could be im­pacted at Den­ver In­ter­na­tional Air­port and through­out Colorado is the es­sen­tial air mar­kets ser­vice, an ini­tia­tive that sub­si­dizes air routes to small air­ports in places such as Pue­blo, Alam­osa and Cortez through car­ri­ers in­clud­ing Bou­tique Air and Great Lakes Air­lines.

DIA has the most es­sen­tial air mar­kets ser­vice des­ti­na­tions of any air­port in the continental United States, with routes also out­side of the state to small towns in Kansas, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota and Ne­braska. The pro­posed bud­get would ap­par­ently elim­i­nate the pro­gram en­tirely.

Also at risk are Am­trak’s longdis­tance train routes, two of which run through Colorado from Chicago to Cal­i­for­nia. The rail car­rier’s Cal­i­for­nia Ze­phyr to San Fran­cisco has stops at Den­ver Union Sta­tion, Granby and Grand Junc­tion. Am­trak’s South­west Chief to Los Angeles serves as an eco­nomic boon and link to the na­tion for its sta­tions in Lamar, La Junta and Trinidad.

Am­trak says 115,000 peo­ple boarded its trains in Colorado in 2015, nearly 15 per­cent of whom re­ported they wouldn’t have trav­eled if Am­trak wasn’t avail­able. The routes are linked to 480 Colorado jobs and have a $48 mil­lion im­pact.

K-12 ed­u­ca­tion

Trump’s plan would slice more than $9 bil­lion from the fed­eral ed­u­ca­tion bud­get for fis­cal 2018.

Den­ver Pub­lic Schools could lose be­tween $5 mil­lion to $10 mil­lion in fed­eral fund­ing if Congress ap­proves Trump’s pro­posed bud­get, said Su­per­in­ten­dent Tom Boas­berg.

DPS could lose $3.75 mil­lion it gets an­nu­ally to hire and train teach­ers in schools through­out the district, Boas­berg said. After­school, be­fore-school and ex­tended-day pro­grams, known in DPS as Dis­cov­ery Link, would take a $1 mil­lion hit.

Those pro­grams pro­vide ed­u­ca­tional learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for work­ing fam­i­lies that they might not oth­er­wise be able to af­ford, Boas­berg said.

“We are deeply trou­bled by the pro­posed cuts to fed­eral ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing, which tar­get key ef­forts to im­prove class­room in­struc­tion and pro­vide ex­tended learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for kids,” he said.

The pro­posed amount, Boas­berg said, “is a sig­nif­i­cant sum, but we are equally con­cerned about the mes­sage this seems to send about the value of re­search­proven, data-sup­ported ef­forts that work for all of our stu­dents, but par­tic­u­larly our most vul­ner­a­ble kids.”

Char­ter school ad­vo­cates are en­cour­aged by Trump’s call for $1.4 bil­lion in new fed­eral in­vest­ments in school choice, in­clud­ing vouch­ers for pri­vate schools, char­ter schools and Ti­tle 1 fund­ing that would fol­low stu­dents to the pub­lic schools of their choice.

Char­ter schools are pub­lic schools but gen­er­ally op­er­ate in­de­pen­dently from the lo­cal school district.

Cor­rec­tions fund­ing

One Depart­ment of Jus­tice pro­gram that’s on the chop­ping block has helped Colorado’s Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions, Den­ver and 33 other coun­ties. Agen­cies in the state were awarded a com­bined $3.5 mil­lion last year from a long­tar­geted pro­gram that helps off­set the cost of in­car­cer­at­ing im­mi­grants who com­mit crimes while in the coun­try il­le­gally.

The State Crim­i­nal Alien As­sis­tance Pro­gram helps off­set the salaries of cor­rec­tional and jail of­fi­cers for the time they spend over­see­ing such in­mates while they serve sen­tences for at least a felony conviction or two mis­de­meanor con­vic­tions. Elim­i­nat­ing the SCAAP pro­gram would save $210 mil­lion.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion tried to end that pro­gram, too, in re­cent years — only to be re­buffed by Congress, which re­stored the fund­ing. But the money for lo­cal awards has been cut by more than half since 2002.

A spokesman for the Colorado DOC, which re­ceived nearly $1.2 mil­lion in 2015 and $2.1 mil­lion last year, could not be reached for com­ment. In Den­ver, which re­ceived about $490,000 each of the last two years, the sher­iff’s depart­ment was brac­ing for the loss. A spokesman said the fed­eral pro­gram re­im­bursed about 25 per­cent of salary costs re­lated to of­fi­cers’ time over­see­ing eligible in­mates. The depart­ment’s bud­get was about $137 mil­lion.

“Close to a half-mil­lion dol­lar hit this year would be sig­nif­i­cant to us,” said Si­mon Crit­tle of the Den­ver Sher­iff’s Depart­ment. “Ob­vi­ously it’s dis­ap­point­ing, es­pe­cially since the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is so reliant on lo­cal folks to iden­tify these sorts of in­mates.”

The Univer­sity of Colorado would be stung by pro­posed bud­get cuts through re­duced re­search spend­ing, school of­fi­cials say. The losses would rip­ple through­out the state’s econ­omy. Daily Cam­era file

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