Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships

Ramping Down RAMP

Over the last five years, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) changed how it budgeted and expended funds for transportation projects. Using sound business practices, this effort, known as Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships (RAMP), better coordinated project expenditures and available funding. RAMP's five-year life span has now come to an end and we are returning to a pre-RAMP base level of advertisements, which we assume will be supplemented by SB267 project ads when that funding becomes available.

  • New Practice. Now that RAMP has ended, CDOT will continue funding multi-year projects based on year of expenditure, but the annual advertisement budget has now returned to pre-RAMP levels.
  • RAMP Practice. Under the RAMP program, CDOT will fund multi-year projects based on year of expenditure, rather than saving for the full amount of a project before construction begins.
  • Old Practice. Before RAMP, CDOT did not advertise a project until all of the money was “in the bank,” which means the department saved money for projects over multiple years before construction began. In addition, some projects take several years to construct - so money often sat unspent when it could be utilized much sooner.


In 2006, CDOT instituted a new computer software system called SAP. One of the reasons for doing so was to improve CDOT business and financial practices, including the potential opportunity to change the way we budget and expend funds. Since that time, CDOT has not had the opportunity to change because both state and federal funds have fluctuated greatly. The passage of MAP-21 and the four-year extension of the federal gas tax allowed us to pursue this opportunity, and CDOT moved forward with this approach to become more efficient and effective.

Increased Construction, NOT Increased Revenue

You may have heard that CDOT was “saving up money” because we were uncertain about federal funding, and that RAMP would “release” the money. Not true. You may have also heard we dug through our rather large seat cushions and found a pile of cash without a home. Also not true. RAMP took better advantage of money in the year it was available and looked at all of our projects funds as a whole rather than each project as an individual silo, which allowed us to increase construction. As a result of CDOT altering its budget practices, increased project construction by about $300 million per year over the last five years. This increase in construction activity was one-time and was from existing, already encumbered dollars, not new funding sources or new transportation revenues.

Not a Solution to Our Transportation Needs

While this change in fiscal management helped to fill the gap for a little while, it was never intended to be permanent- it isn’t new money- and it wasn't large enough to solve Colorado's transportation needs. This is a challenge that continues to require a much greater, statewide effort.