Last week, the bipartisan co-chairs of Building America’s Future called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to add infrastructure, including transportation, as a topic of the upcoming debates, starting with the Denver debate on October 3rd. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell signed a letter to the commission, which clearly connected infrastructure with the economy.
In the letter they wrote, “As our nation enters into the second decade of the 21st century, the state of our nation’s infrastructure continues to play a vital role in shaping our economy and our economic competitiveness with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the federal government has not continued the level of investment necessary to maintain and modernize our infrastructure to meet the growing population and demands of our society. This failure also jeopardizes public safety and is having a deleterious effect on our environment and overall quality of life.”
The letter also cited some alarming facts about our aging infrastructure:
- In 2011 the World Economic Forum ranked the overall quality of U.S. infrastructure at 24th – down from number five in 2002.
- Congestion levels on our highways are costing us $101 billion in wasted time and fuel.
It’s encouraging the Governor John Hickenlooper is a member of BFA, where in Colorado, 52% of our roads are rated in poor condition with a staggering 33% of our highways are in such disrepair that they require major rehabilitation or complete reconstruction. In addition our roadways are becoming more congested as the population rises. A 2011 traffic congestion study by Texas A&M Transportation Institute found that combined congestion on 1-25 southbound and northbound cost Coloradans $137,013,000 in wasted fuel and hours in traffic (Data Source: Powered by 2010 INRIX traffic data). With Colorado’s population expected to rise by more than 2 million people by 2035, this will only get worse without investment.
Move Colorado agrees that transportation must be at the center of the national discussion both as an individual topic and as a part of the debate on the economy. Transportation is not a partisan issue and it’s something that we should be able to agree on. Please share this message through your social media networks and call on the candidates and the commission to make transportation a key topic.