“As they say, if this were easy… The reality is that we have ignored infrastructure for too long. For years, infrastructure advocates have been squeezed out of the budget in favor of other priorities. The issue has now become dire. Our lack of infrastructure is costing money, putting safety at risk, and will eventually stifle our economy.”

Think of Tony Milo as Colorado’s Lorax. Only, instead of speaking for the trees like the fabled Dr. Seuss character, Milo advocates relentlessly for the state’s infrastructure.

As executive director of the Colorado Contractors Association, he is the point man in the perennial push for more funding to highways, bridges and other wide-ranging public works. And almost since taking the helm at the association in 2005, Milo has been forewarning policy makers of the long-term consequences of letting backlogged upgrades to our transportation grid languish on the drawing board.

The transportation-funding compromise hammered out by lawmakers in the closing days of the 2018 legislature is a good start in chipping away at that backlog, Milo tells us in today’s Q&A. But it’s just that — a start — and he says much more far-reaching policy initiatives are needed to truly tackle transportation.

Read on…

Shaun Egan

“When we speak about our state’s transportation needs, policymakers usually mention the additional time and cost to travelers and business. While these statistics demonstrate a critical need for additional investment in our transportation infrastructure, they fail to capture the highest cost of our inaction, which is the loss of life or serious injuries to people on our highways. While being late for work or delayed while traveling to ski is annoying, they pale in comparison to a loved one not coming home.”

Greeley Tribune
January 19th

The high price of inaction on our infrastructure is 599. That is the number of people who died on Colorado’s roadways in 2016.

Highway fatalities and how they grew in number in the past year were part of a broad-based advertising campaign by the Colorado Department of Transportation to make the public aware of the human toll associated with highway accidents and the importance of safe driving practices.

While this campaign may have been effective in getting our attention, the number of fatalities and injuries on our highways unfortunately rose. In fact, highway fatalities in 2016 were at their highest level since 2005 and have risen by over 34 percent since 2011.

What is the cause of this increase? Many would point rightfully to distracted driving, driving under the influence, and speeding as leading causes of highway fatalities. In looking at those factors, many view the rise in highway fatalities as an enforcement issue. One other important consideration, though that rarely gets mentioned, is how our state’s lack of investment in our transportation system may be contributing to this increase.

Read on…

Shaun Egan is the President and CEO of Iron Woman Construction, which is company that is involved in transporting construction materials and environmental consulting. Egan also serves as the vice chairman of the Colorado Motor Carriers Association, which represents over 600 companies involved in trucking in Colorado.

Dear Governor Hickenlooper,

Those who follow transportation funding issues were disappointed last week by passage of the well intentioned but misguided SB 197 – a bill we respectfully request that you veto.

As the voice of many organizations and entities with interests in finding sustainable funding streams for our critical transportation infrastructure, Move Colorado supports aspects of the bill that protect the public’s interest by mandating public involvement and increased reporting to lawmakers on future Public Private Partnerships, or P3s. We oppose, however, the constraints on future P3s via onerous restrictions aimed at limiting a valuable tool from an ever-shrinking transportation funding toolbox. Weakening this tool, as this legislation does, effectively eliminates it – an outcome that we find untenable.

Having witnessed the process that was the catalyst for this bill, I’m confident that key issues will be addressed as new High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) projects move forward. The best parts of this legislation provide an exceptional roadmap to live up to lawmakers – and the public’s – expectations, and can be accomplished through executive order. The worst parts are just bad policy and deserve your veto.

Let’s give your Department of Transportation an opportunity to implement these principles before imposing unnecessarily narrow leeway on which to find innovative solutions to fund transportation infrastructure.

Melissa Osse
Executive Director

To read the full letter, click here.

Much hard work has been done on both sides of the issue recently regarding the proposed contract between the Colorado High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) and Plenary Roads Denver, the group selected as the concessionaire for the US 36 managed lanes project.

Move Colorado and our membership stand in support of this agreement – which has been assembled and vetted through a public process spanning several years – for myriad reasons, some of which include:

  • Our ability to even just maintain the current condition of our state’s transportation infrastructure is in jeopardy. Budgets and funding streams are unable to sustain the existing system, let alone support improvements necessary for a strong economy and to maintain our current quality of life.
  • We support an “all of the above” approach to funding transportation in our state, and understand that Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) enabled by the HPTE statute are an important, tested, effective option for some of our most pressing challenges.

Innovative funding methods such as P3s are bound to raise questions because people are unfamiliar with the concept. Move Colorado sees this as an opportunity to foster greater understanding of the intense funding challenges we face. As elected officials and industry experts, we share responsibility to talk plainly about the facts and use this as an opportunity for a broader discussion about how we solve transportation challenges in our state

Move Colorado supports a comprehensive statewide transportation policy that takes a holistic approach as opposed to the current patchwork of temporary fixes. We support a broader conversation that welcomes all parties to help set the policy that will put in place sustainable funding stream(s) that provide responsible investment in our future.

In the end, it’s not in our nature as Coloradans to avoid tough challenges. We’re a people who take these head-on. Together with all who have come to the table – Let’s get to work.


Melissa Osse
Executive Director
Move Colorado

For the complete letter, click on the following link: US36 P3 Contract Support Letter

move_fb_twitterThe Denver Post recently published an op-ed by Move Colorado’s executive director Melissa Osse. The letter was in response to two columns written about replacing the gas tax with a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) funding source.

The Denver Post: Should U.S. drivers be taxed for gas use or miles traveled? (4 letters)

By Melissa Osse

It was encouraging to see a conversation brewing on alternative sources of transportation funding in Colorado. After all, a recent report ranked Colorado’s rural and urban interstate conditions 47th and 33rd in the nation.

Read Full Story at The Denver Post

Post by Melissa Osse, Move Colorado executive director

move_fb_twitterThere’s an ominous trend for Colorado’s highway system – it’s falling behind. According to a recent report released by Reason Foundation, “the overall condition of the U.S. state-owned highway system was in the best shape ever.” Despite that, Colorado’s system fell from 34th in 2008 to 41st in 2009, the third highest drop among the 50 states.

Colorado is a prime example of states struggling to maintain and improve its highway transportation system. The report states that, “Almost two-thirds of the poor-condition rural interstate mileage is in just five states: California, Alaska, Minnesota, New York and Colorado” (Page 3). In addition, Colorado ranked 47th for rural interstate condition and 33rd for urban interstate condition.  While urban interstate condition is fairing better, Colorado’s urban interstates are among the top 15 most congested in the country.

There is a silver lining. When solid investments are made into the system, Colorado shows strength and the ability to lead the nation. As of 2010, Colorado ranks 4th with one of the lowest percentages of bridges considered deficient. It’s not a surprise – FASTER (Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery), a program supported by Move Colorado, was signed into law in early 2009 to fix structurally-deficient bridges. FASTER is now providing approximately $100 million annually for bridge improvement. The Colorado Bridge Enterprise currently manages the program and reported that as of May 2013 of the 130 bridges eligible for FASTER funding 50 have been completed.

Fully investing in our transportation system must be a top priority or we can expect to see more reports like this in the future. We’re capable of building a 21st century transportation system that provides us with mobility, freedom and economic rewards. Let’s learn from the data and take action by supporting new sources of revenue to fund transportation.

move_fb_twitterWhen people think of health care what comes to mind first are nurses, doctors, hospitals and medicine. Less often do people think of transportation’s connection to providing quality healthcare. Healthcare providers depend on safe, reliable transportation to deliver services to people in need. Unfortunately, declining transportation revenues are hastening the erosion of our transportation options.

Healthcare services provide more than just emergency transportation to hospitals. They serve families with a range of developmental challenges and help them with daily living, homemaking skills, employment, home modification, transportation and emergency assistance. Families depend on healthcare providers to give quality care through early intervention programs and family support services.

Getting to and from patient homes requires a team of professionals to traverse a network of roads, highways and public transportation routes. On the way, they’re likely to travel on one of the more than half of the roads in Colorado that are in disrepair. Statewide more than 52% of our roads are rated in poor condition and 33% of our highways require major rehabilitation or complete reconstruction. If our transportation budget continues with the status quo, this will only get worse.

Transportation officials have found creative ways to cope with a budget that has fallen by 30% over the last five years and even managed to make some roads safer, but the dollar can only be stretched so far. The real reason for the funding shortage is that the tax used to fund our transportation system was last increased in Colorado 1991. Now, the average Colorado driver is only spending $22.50 a month for federal and state gas taxes combined. Compare this to the average American worker who spends four times more for coffee every month ($90) than we do for the freedom of driving anywhere in the state.

Public support for increased funding will be critical to improving the system for the long-term. Move Colorado members were especially encouraged by the TBD Colorado meetings that Governor John Hickenlooper hosted across the state. During the meetings, transportation became a major topic of discussion. Polling of TBD participants from the regional meetings in June of last year indicated that an overwhelming number (over 80%) of them agreed that increasing tax revenue to invest in our transportation system is needed.

While the show of support for increased funding levels at TBD is a great start, we need your support as well. We inherited an amazing transportation system from our grandparents but it’s our shared responsibility to improve and maintain it. Our families and health care providers depend on safe transportation options that ensure quality and timely care is delivered. Please place transportation at the top of your priority list and urge your representatives to find realistic ways to invest more in the system.

Melissa Osse is the executive director of Move Colorado, an organization dedicated to building a smart, mobile and sustainable multi-modal transportation system in Colorado.

Move ColoradoPARKER, CO – Leadership means doing what’s right, even when it’s unpopular.  Financing our aging transportation system will take strong advocates that are willing to put Colorado’s economic potential ahead of short-term, palatable fixes.

It’s estimated that it’ll cost $8.6 billion to address state highways in need of full reconstruction.  Unfortunately, federal funding for transportation is likely to fall, and it’s up to states to fill the gap.

In “Raising gas taxes would stabilize highway funds,” The Denver Post editorial board makes a compelling case for increasing gas taxes.  Leaders in Wyoming, Virginia, Maryland and other states have started similar conversations.  It’s a dialogue that’s too quiet here in Colorado.

Colorado’s leaders understand that transportation is in trouble, but we must make the decision now to educate our neighbors and persuade them that a 21st century transportation system is essential.  The solutions are there, if inspired advocates take up the challenge.

Melissa Osse is the executive director of Move Colorado.

Tony Milo

In “Toll roads in Colorado can only go so far,” Curtis Hubbard clearly understands that Colorado faces two divergent paths. On one path we can continue to watch as our statewide transportation funding depletes, on the other less traveled path we can have a dialogue with voters and find new sources of revenue.

CDOT estimates that $8.6 billion is required to fully reconstruct state highways that need it. Since CDOT’s budget has shrunk by 30% in five years, it’s understandable that the TBD Colorado’s final report calls for “new transportation funding mechanisms” including “a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fee, indexing the gas tax to inflation and greater regional funding authority.” A combination of solutions will likely be needed to address the situation.

Move Colorado welcomes the discussion advocated by Hubbard. If others take the road less traveled, we might save our transportation system and that will make all the difference.

Tony Milo is a member of Move Colorado, which provides information, sponsors education programs, and supports the efforts of the Colorado community, business, and political leaders to solve transportation funding issues.

Joe Kiely

TBD Colorado recently released its final report of recommendations to the public and Governor John Hickenlooper. The TBD report is yet another example that shows the urgent need for a statewide solution to fund our transportation system. Government leaders and citizens should take this opportunity to have a serious dialogue about finding additional transportation funding.

We’ve searched every nook and cranny for cost savings, but that’s never going to be enough to prevent our infrastructure from deteriorating. Governor Hickenlooper’s and CDOT’s recently announced initiative RAMP (Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships) is a great start, but efficiencies will only get us part of the way to our goals. If we value our mobility, economic well-being and freedom to travel, we’ll get serious about new sources of revenue.

The challenges facing transportation are many but they are readily solvable with support for new revenue. The report recognizes that 52% of our state highways are in poor condition, up from 40% in 2006. It’s estimated to cost $8.6 billion to fully reconstruct the state highways that need it. Colorado’s growing population and unique physical characteristics are placing greater strain on the system.

To fix the funding shortfall, the report calls for exploring “new transportation funding mechanisms” including “a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fee, indexing the gas tax to inflation and greater regional funding authority.” These are just a few of the solutions that can contribute to a healthy system.

In 2013, Move Colorado plans to help play an educational role for the public and policymakers. Move’s members look forward to engaging in an active dialogue that leads to real solutions.

We’re in this together and the report should be our starting point. Now, let’s build on the report with concrete steps to ensure the transportation system meets the needs of future generations.

Joe Kiely is vice-president of operations for the Ports-to-Plains Alliance and member of Move Colorado. Move Colorado provides information, sponsors education programs, and supports the efforts of the Colorado community, business, and political leaders to solve transportation funding issues.