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.