The $7.1 billion annual cost is broken down into $3.1 billion in congestion-related costs, $2.1 billion in costs related to crashes and other safety issues and $1.9 billion in vehicle-operating costs.

The average motorist will lose $2,306 per year to car repairs and to time lost in congestion.

Those same motorists will spend 52 hours per year stuck in traffic jams.

Colorado’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.17 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2016 is in line with the national average of 1.18.21 The traffic fatality rate on the state’s rural roads is  disproportionately high. The fatality rate on Colorado’s non-interstate rural roads is more than double that on all other roads in the state (1.97 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.96).

Denver Business Journal

Congested and deteriorating roads are costing Colorado drivers $7.1 billion a year in lost time and productivity, needed repairs and crash-related expenses, according to a study released on Thursday.

Backers of a proposed sales-tax hike to fund transportation needs latched immediately onto the study from TRIP, a Washington D.C.-based transportation research organization that advocates for safety and increased efficiency. Mike Fitzgerald, president and CEO of the Denver South Economic Development Partnership, said after a news conference that the research clearly show that more work is needed than can be funded with the state’s existing resources.

Rocky Moretti, TRIP director of policy and research, said his organization, which is funded by a coalition of transportation advocates from across the country, said his organization decided to dig into Colorado’s roadway issues both because it is a growing state and because it’s a state that has grappled in recent years with how to pump more investment into its infrastructure. The Colorado Legislature this year allocated $645 million in new funding to roads and transit and approved asking voters in 2019 for permission to sell $2.3 billion worth of bonds for transportation — but only if neither of two initiatives from outside groups passes on this November’s statewide ballot.

Among the many numbers that TRIP compiled for the study, one that jumped out the most to Moretti was the fact that vehicle miles traveled in Colorado grew 11 percent between 2013 and 2016 — the sixth-greatest rate of growth in the country. That demonstrated both the state’s economic vitality that is attracting a growing population and the urgency that is needed to fix roads before their upkeep falls too far behind the needs of its citizenry.

“We clearly see there’s an ongoing need in Colorado that has yet to be addressed,” Moretti said. “So, we’re happy to educate residents about those challenges.”


Learn more:

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Diane Schwenke said her biggest concern is if the measures fail and larger cities around the state decide to pass their own taxes to go toward roads in their jurisdictions.

Grand Junction Sentinel

Colorado’s transportation director said Monday voters have a chance this fall to provide a long-term fix for the state’s congested and ailing system of roads.

Michael Lewis, who was appointed in November as the executive director of the state Department of Transportation, spoke remotely during the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly luncheon, providing an overview of the state’s road systems and outlining some possible solutions should potential initiatives make the November ballot and be approved by voters.

“We have the opportunity this fall to address the issue for the next 20 years,” said Lewis, who was slated to be at the luncheon in person until his flight was canceled earlier in the day. “It’s a great opportunity.”

The 45-minute presentation outlined the potentials for the “Fix Our Damn Roads” initiative and another that would increase sales tax across the state by 0.62 percent to pay for transportation. Backers of both measures are in the process of gathering signatures and must turn in enough by August to get on the ballot.

The “Fix Our Damn Roads” initiative would allow the state to increase its debt by $3.5 billion and pay for transportation projects out of the general fund. It is being led by the Independence Institute. Initiative 153, the sales tax, is led by a coalition of businesses. When asked why the effort is geared toward raising sales tax instead of the gas tax that already funds road projects, Lewis said the gas tax tends to poll poorly and more energy-efficient cars could make an increase less effective.

Lewis also discussed Senate Bill 1, which was recently signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper and commits $495 million in 2018 with a promise of an additional $150 million next year to road projects. It would also add a potential ballot measure for roads in 2019 should neither of the two initiatives pass in 2018.

Read on…

From Colorado Politics

This was supposed to be the year Colorado’s legislature at long last did something — something big — about our state’s aging and bottlenecked transportation grid and its backlogged list of highway projects.

Yet, when the gavel came down on the 2018 session in May, it was wincingly evident lawmakers had done little more than apply a bandage.

FILE – In this April 4, 2017, file photo, traffic backs up on snowbound Interstate 25 near Colorado Boulevard in Denver. Top Colorado lawmakers say they have struck a deal on transportation funding. The compromise would ask voters in 2019 to borrow $2.34 billion for transportation projects. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Sure, epic promises were made and endless debate was taken up by lawmakers who had labored days and some nights on a transportation compromise to suit both parties. And still, the highest praise that the finished product, Senate Bill 1, was able to garner was that it represented a good first step.

The upshot: Once again, future legislative sessions have their work cut out for them on this never-ending issue. And the same goes for Colorado’s next governor, whom voters will elect this November.

Which is why we felt this was an opportune point — as voting gets underway in a crowded gubernatorial primary election — to ask the eight contenders in both parties what they would do to address the state’s transportation woes.

We asked each candidate to shape up a commentary (only GOP candidate Greg Lopez didn’t respond to our request), and their input spans the known spectrum from more tax dollars to cutting waste.

Read on — and see who you think offers the most feasible, and plausible, solution.

Denver Post
January 25, 2016

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 14: Brake lights fill Interstate-25 as traffic passes after 6 p.m., near Alameda. Denver traffic along I-25 was photographed on Monday, December 14, 2015. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 14: Brake lights fill Interstate-25 as traffic passes after 6 p.m., near Alameda. Denver traffic along I-25 was photographed on Monday, December 14, 2015. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

Traffic in Denver. Potholes in Colorado Springs. Unplowed roads on the Eastern Plains. Highway closures in the mountains. Gridlock on Interstate 25 north.

The state’s transportation problems all collide in one place: the Capitol. And the impact is pushing the perennial issue of state transportation funding to the top of the 2016 legislative to-do list.

Gov. John Hickenlooper and lawmakers are mostly united this session in a mission to find more money for road building and maintenance, but what is less universal is the solution.

Democrats and Republicans are moving in opposite directions and struggling to reach consensus on how to find more money — an impasse that is complicated by a state budget crunch.

Half of Colorado’s $1.28 billion transportation budget is spent on maintaining existing roads, according to state officials, which leaves little room for expansion projects demanded by a booming population. Colorado Department of Transportation officials estimate that revenues fall short of demand by about $1 billion a year. Read on…

Summit Daily News
December 28, 2015

The Colorado Department of Transportation opened the new I-70 Express Lane to tolling on Saturday, Dec. 19. Over the past two weekends, tolls have remained near the base rate, set at $3.

The Colorado Department of Transportation opened the new I-70 Express Lane to tolling on Saturday, Dec. 19. Over the past two weekends, tolls have remained near the base rate, set at $3.

Two weeks after its official opening, Colorado Department of Transportation officials see the Interstate 70 Express Lane as a success. The 13-mile toll lane, stretching eastbound between Empire and Idaho Springs, began collecting tolls the weekend of Dec. 19 and opened again Dec. 26 and 27.

“It went really, really well,” CDOT communications director Amy Ford said. “It kept traffic moving and sort of helped with the delay.”

While the toll range was set for $3 to $30, with prices increasing with traffic volume, she said the toll rested at about $3 through the weekend. Read on…

Financing and Accelerating the Next Generation of Major Transportation Projects in Colorado By SS-Baumgardnerenator Randy Baumgardner/Rep Brian DelGrosso

Upon referral and voter approval in 2015, Colorado can generate $3.5 Billion in funding by renewing the successful 1999 TRANS Bonding Program. With interest rates at their lowest in history, the state can bond against 50% of federal gas tax dollars to generate the approximately $3.5 Billion in bond proceeds … a lump sum which will used to accelerate defined, and much needed, transportation projects throughout Colorado. In addition to over 30 important projects located in every region of the state, signature projects for TRANS II would be congestion mitigation of the I-70 Mountain Corridor and the North I-25 Corridor.

H-DelGrossoAs was the case in 1999, CDOT has already identified $2.93 billion in transportation projects that meet the following criteria: 1) the project or corridor is strategic in nature 2) it does not have significant construction funding already identified 3) must be able to begin construction within 5 years and 4) must be economically significant for the state and/or region in which it resides.


TRANS II – Get Colorado Moving!

CDOT Response to Transportation Partners

Potential Project Listing

An Insider’s Perspective – Outlook for Transportation in 2014

Co-sponsored by Move Colorado and the Ports-to-Plains Alliance, join us for a compelling webinar on Friday, March 7 from 10-11 a.m. MST with nationally recognized public policy expert Jack Schenendorf, as he shares insights on how policymakers in Washington D.C. are approaching transportation funding.

You will leave the webinar with:

  • An understanding of current transportation funding issues,
  • A broader understanding of how we arrived at this point,
  • A projection of how the federal government is likely to approach future transportation funding for states, and
  • A candid examination of options we have to address these issues for Colorado.

Perhaps most valuable of all, you will have fresh understanding of current transportation funding challenges in Colorado!

For more information, view our event news release. Space is limited, so register now!

Also, be sure to download the Transportation Funding Webinar Primer as event prep!