The Colorado Department of Transportation will set aside $21 million for mass transit under its Faster program, or Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation  and Economic Recovery, officials said.

Approved by outgoing Gov. Bill Ritter in 2009, Faster will raise vehicle-registration fees by an average of $42 a year by 2012.

The increased fees will finance road, bridge and transit projects. CDOT will consider another $15 million of Faster projects next month.

Renovations to Denver Union Station and the construction of a regional bus transfer center in Loveland are among the mass transit projects approved this month.

Financial need, readiness and integration with existing systems are major criteria for the Faster projects, according to a statement from Mark Imhoff, director of CDOT’s transit and rail division.

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