The condition of the statewide highway system is deteriorating. This is not about “their roads” and “our roads”. It must be about expanding and maintaining the entire statewide system. Congestion and road condition issues are real in urban areas. Still the urban areas of the state must acknowledge that urban Colorado needs the statewide system to grow and prosper. Colorado roads serve all of Colorado and the nation.
It takes only a quick look at a state highway map to recognize that the miles between urban areas require a safe, efficient system of moving goods through rural areas. Movement of freight and people is about connections. Urban areas rely upon rural corridors to connect to markets and resources necessary to grow their economies. Not only do rural corridors make those connections to markets but they are also sources of the resources needed to drive those economies. The statewide transportation system provides the food, fuel and fiber needed in urban population areas.
This is not a question of fair share. There is not enough revenue to expand and maintain the statewide system or to address the urban transportation needs. CDOT and its Transportation Commission have had to make decisions that they do not want to make – decisions driven by its declining budget.
The Ports-to-Plains Alliance has published Maintaining and Expanding Colorado’s Statewide Transportation System: A Rural Perspective for the recent Voices of Rural Colorado event hosted by CLUB 20, Action 22 and Progressive 15. It provides a comprehensive look, from a rural perspective, at the statewide transportation system, funding, bonding, municipalities and counties, state policies and urban needs. The conclusions from the rural overview are below. Ports-to-Plains urges you to read the entire publication to better understand the value and issues facing the Colorado’s statewide transportation system. The entire publication (8 pages) is available free of charge at www.portstoplains.com/images/emma/transportation_and_rural_colorado_012116_complete.pdf
- Rural Transportation Infrastructure is in trouble
- The major users of the statewide system outside urban Colorado are not rural residents. They are the urban residents on their way to a vacation or to visit family, tourists visiting our beautiful state, and trucks moving goods and resources into, out of and within the state. Should all of Colorado support the cost of maintaining that infrastructure?
- Every local, urban solution creates a block of voters unwilling to vote for statewide transportation funding.
- Rural legislators must understand that failure to support new statewide revenues damages the rural infrastructure.
- Rural Colorado does not have the population required to use current tools like P3s and RTAs to generate enough revenue to maintain the statewide system. Just looking at Interstate 70 and Interstate 76 in rural Colorado, where will the funding come from to maintain those interstates? A mile of interstate reconstruction costs more than the entire budgets of many rural communities.
Ports-to-Plains, a member of MoveColorado, is a grassroots alliance of over 275 communities and businesses, including alliance partners Heartland Expressway, Theodore Roosevelt Expressway and Eastern Alberta Trade Corridor Coalition, whose mission is to advocate for a robust international transportation infrastructure to promote economic security and prosperity throughout North America’s energy and agricultural heartland including Mexico to Canada. Additional information on the Ports-to-Plains Alliance is available at www.portstoplains.com/.