By Rachel Beck
Vice President of Government Affairs, Chamber & EDC
Delivery drivers stuck in traffic, racking up overtime. Executives 45 minutes late to important meetings in Denver because the highway was closed. Tourists turning around, frustrated by congestion. We hear stories like this every day from our businesses. It’s why we’ve made transportation funding and policy one of our top legislative priorities in the past few years.
The Colorado Department of Transportation estimates our state has a backlog of a billion dollars in unfunded state maintenance and capital projects each year – projects like the expansion of the I-25 Gap corridor, which is critical to commerce between our region, the Denver metro area, and the entire Front Range. Thanks to advocacy from our team and other Pikes Peak region stakeholders, that project will break ground this fall, rather than in 10 years, as originally scheduled. But that still leaves a long list of projects, such as Highway 24 expansion and Highway 94 safety improvements, that need funding.
Based on our research and member input, we believe any successful statewide funding solution must include these components:
- A significant and ongoing contribution from the state’s general fund budget
- A new revenue source that is tied to transportation services and does not jeopardize the competitiveness of our economy
- Projects on statewide corridors of regional significance.
- Viable at the ballot box, since TABOR rules dictate the state ask voter permission
We continue to work with partners at the legislature, CDOT, community advocacy groups, and other chambers and EDCs across the state to ensure the businesses of the Pikes Peak region have the efficient transportation system we need to succeed.