Denver, CO – Today, leaders around the state commended legislators for their commitment to transportation and urged them to find a long-term, sustainable funding source for infrastructure across Colorado. In opening day speeches, legislators from both sides of the aisle acknowledged and prioritized the urgent need to improve and invest in Colorado’s transportation infrastructure.
“Transportation is our priority this year because it is absolutely critical to job growth and a healthy economy. Our members are committed to working with legislators to ensure that we fund our transportation infrastructure,” said Loren Furman, Senior VP of State & Federal Government Relations, Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (CACI).
“Investing in transportation infrastructure in every corner of our state is important to maintaining a strong economy,” said Kelly Brough, President and CEO, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. “Without such investments, we can’t maintain our current competitive advantage or improve our roads and bridges so our goods, workers, families, and visitors, can more easily move and contribute to our economy.”
“Colorado’s transportation infrastructure is in desperate need of maintenance and repair,” said Tony Milo, Executive Director, Colorado Contractors Association. “This is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue, it’s a Colorado issue. For the future of our economy, for our safety, and for our quality of life, we must fund our transportation infrastructure.”
“Our citizens and businesses need, and deserve, safe and efficient roads and other multi-modal ways to get around their communities and the state. The Metro Mayors Caucus recognizes that if the State doesn’t address this issue, our quality of life will be harmed, and we will lose our competitive edge to states like Utah and Wyoming,” said Arvada Mayor Marc Williams, Chair, Metro Mayors Caucus Transportation Task Force.
Currently, the primary source of funding for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), is the state gas tax. Unfortunately, the gas tax – $.22 per gallon – does not increase annually with inflation and has not been increased since 1991. At the same time, cars have become more fuel efficient which has created a declining collection of revenues and a $9 billion list of needs for our transportation infrastructure.
“A comprehensive transportation solution provides choices for transit, pedestrians, and bikes,” said Will Toor, director of the transportation program at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). “Providing transportation choices to Coloradans is critical to the success of our transportation infrastructure and to our quality of life.”
“We are hopeful for a transportation funding solution that acknowledges transit needs in rural Colorado and around the state,” said Ann Rajewski, Executive Director, Colorado Association of Transit Agencies (CASTA).
“Transportation is the lifeblood for our state’s economy and our lack of investment in our infrastructure is adversely affecting business development and jobs within our state. Regardless of who you are, all of our citizens pay a steep and ever increasing price for the deficiencies in our transportation system whether it is in longer commute times, higher costs for goods, or sadly even in accidents as safety is compromised,” said Greg Fulton, Executive Director, Colorado Motor Carriers Association.
Since 1990, Colorado’s population has grown 53% while the lane miles on Colorado highways have only increased by 2%. This discrepancy has created an enormous sense of urgency to address the issue from communities around the state.
“Transportation is one of the top two issues most concerning to our business members and prospects, and having a reliable, efficient, multi-modal transportation system is essential to our economic success,” continued Dirk Draper, president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Development Corporation. “We can’t keep kicking this can down the road if we want to remain competitive as a state. The Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC has been working with numerous partners toward a solution and getting out of the zero-sum game of regions competing against each other for limited funding.”
“Transportation is not just a Denver-metro problem, its an issue in communities across Colorado and a priority for Progressive 15,” said Cathy Shull, Executive Director, Progressive 15. “Transportation infrastructure is absolutely critical to growing our economy, addressing safety issues, and providing options for our communities. We urge legislators to help us find a funding solution.”
“Colorado’s transportation infrastructure is literally crumbling beneath us, and we must identify funding solutions this session. CLUB 20 has been a fierce advocate on transportation issues for more than 60 years and we look forward to working with the legislature to get this problem solved,” said Christian Reece, Executive Director, CLUB 20.
“Colorado’s statewide transportation system requires statewide funding that can address the variety of needs in different parts of the system. Those needs include capacity, safety and maintenance, and rural needs may be different from urban needs, but all the parts must be kept in good condition to support our quality of life. We must all work together to provide sustainable funding that can create safe and efficient mobility throughout the state,” said Bob Stovall, Legislative Liaison, Action 22.
“Colorado’s safety and economic wellbeing is dependent on a robust infrastructure system. Investment in our transportation system is essential but it is no small task and we must work together. We applaud the Legislature’s courage to address transportation investment this session and we look forward to supporting their efforts,” Jeffery Kullman, President, Move Colorado.
“We applaud Senate President Grantham and House Speaker Duran for elevating the growing crisis in Colorado facing our transportation system and the need for a much greater investment now and in the years to come. Their leadership on this issue is indispensable because allowing the transportation status quo to idle in neutral threatens to throw our economy and our quality of life into reverse. Another year cannot go by without a solution to our transportation crisis,” said Sandra Hagen Solin, Fix Colorado Roads.
Over the next 120 days, follow the coalition on Twitter @TeamFixItCO and follow the progress of the transportation debate on Twitter at #FixItCO.
FixItCO is a coalition of business leaders, community organizations, environmental groups, and concerned citizens dedicated to finding a long-term, sustainable funding source for transportation.