"Rewriting the Myths, Redefining the Realities"
The Colorado Mobility Coalition has released a report entitled “Smart Transportation: Choices for Colorado, 2002.” Smart Transportation is a term used to describe a balanced transportation system that includes multi-modal transportation options as well as highways. The report, the result of months of investigation into conditions and trends, makes some highly critical observations about transportation in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Transportation spends approximately $1 billion a year on highway improvements, but NO state funds are spent on transit.
Colorado is only one of a few states that do not allocate state funds for transit.
Over half of Colorado’s unfunded transportation needs are transit related. Funds are needed for buses, light rail and commuter rail lines, passenger rail vehicles, bus and rail stations, high occupancy vehicle lanes, and pedestrian/bicycle projects.
Vehicle miles traveled are increasing 2.5 times faster than our population because of sprawl, the report states. Commuters are engaging in more single occupant trips, more trips, and longer trips, just to get to their jobs, their entertainment, and their kids’ schools. Yet neither CDOT nor the Governor is dedicating any state dollars to transit alternatives.
“We are dipping into General Revenues more and more to subsidize highways,” said Bert Melcher, former State Highway Commissioner and RTD Board Chair. “Without alternatives to the car, congestion will only get worse and our mobility will decrease. We cannot pave our way out of congestion, and we cannot afford to even try it. State funding for transit is essential.”
Surveys conducted by CDOT and Transit Alliance have shown that Coloradoans want transit options not only in the Denver area but throughout the state.
The Colorado Mobility Coalition (CMC) report finds that Smart Transportation:
Promotes social equity and livable communities, allowing every citizen to participate fully in society whether or not they own a car and regardless of age, ability, ethnicity, or income.
Enhances public health, safety, and security by providing a secure travel environment, access to essential destinations and by promoting cleaner air and water quality.
Sustains economic prosperity as an integral part of Smart Growth by supporting local and regional economic objectives and providing efficient and reliable delivery of people, goods and services to all markets.
Improves energy use and environmental protection while reducing reliance on foreign oil and offering solutions to climate change.
Smart Transportation would consist of CDOT providing an equitable amount of funding for transit in addition to highways. CMC recommends that CDOT spend a minimum of 10% of their funds (approximately $100 million per year) on transit. These funds could come from existing funding streams such as flexing federal funds, SB1 funds or from new funding streams created by the state legislature.
Priorities of Smart Transportation include:
Support of local transit agencies to augment the services currently funded with local dollars
Provide intercity bus/rail services in the I-70 and I-25 corridors
Use of transit investments to foster Smart Growth
Allowing RTD to have the same rights and responsibilities as all Rural Transportation Authorities (RTAs) with regard to public tax votes without State legislative approval.
The Colorado Mobility Coalition is a non-profit organization comprised of over 60 organizations and individuals dedicated to promoting multi-modal transportation services for all residents of and visitors to Colorado. The Principal Investigator of the Report, Bert Melcher, is a member of the CMC Board of Directors. Inquiries about the Report or the CMC can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-444-8721.
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Copyright 2002 A&H Publishing Corporation