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Legislators Hall of Fame
Tom Norton 2008 Legislators Hall of Fame

Thomas E. “Tom” Norton

Charged with the enormous task of building and maintaining a safe, efficient and practical transportation system, Tom Norton was appointed by Colorado Governor Bill Owens in January of 1999 to serve as executive director for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

In November of 1999, Colorado voters approved Referendum A, a comprehensive transportation package that gave CDOT the authority to bond for priority construction projects. The passage of the legislation launched Colorado into a new era of transportation, enabling work to begin on critical projects, including the T-REX Project (Transportation Expansion), the nation’s largest multi-modal design-build transportation project.

Under Norton’s leadership, CDOT began the development of asset management, performance measures and a transportation investment strategy that can be used to relate the expenditures and work results to the goals of the Department.  He has also implemented an effective environmental stewardship program. With his experience in both the engineering and legislative arenas, Tom Norton will undoubtedly continue to capitalize on opportunities.

A highly regarded leader with well-known accomplishments, Mr. Norton spent 12 years in the Colorado Legislature, including six consecutive years as Senate president.  He also served for two years as chairman of the National Senate Presidents Forum.

During his time in the Legislature, Mr. Norton achieved many successes.  He sponsored legislation that revised worker compensation laws that, over four years, saved private businesses approximately $2.6 billion.  He was a driving force on numerous environmental and air quality issues and worked tirelessly to obtain additional revenue for transportation, doubling CDOT=s budget over the past six years.  These successes, along with those achieved in his engineering career, make Mr. Norton well-suited for his position at CDOT.

Since graduating from Colorado State University with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in civil engineering in 1969, Mr. Norton has worked for more than 30 years in the engineering private sector, including 20 years spent owning and operating his own firm.

Governor Bill Owens has said, “Tom Norton is first and foremost an engineer who gets things done and that is exactly what Coloradans want in the Colorado Department of Transportation.”

Tom Norton is the recipient of numerous awards and citations from organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, Colorado State University, National Federation of Independent Business, Boy Scouts of America, Professional Engineers of Colorado, Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, University of Colorado at Denver and the Colorado Environmental Health Association.  He is a member of the Regional Air Quality Council, chairman of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) special committee on Economic Development and Freight and former president of the Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (WASHTO).

Mr. Norton is a father of five.  He and his wife, Kay, reside in Greeley, Colorado.

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