Post by Melissa Osse, Move Colorado executive director
There’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.