As Governor Hickenlooper stated at the 8th Legislative Breakfast, transportation is an economic driver. It determines the movement of our state’s goods and the movement of people to tourist destinations and employment centers.
Funding for this vital aspect of our state’s economy is at an all-time low and is a key focus for elected officials entering the 2017 legislative session. And it is not just elected officials who are focused on transportation funding, the private sector is raising their collective voice in support of developing new mechanisms for transportation funding. Accessibility (meaning an effective multi-modal system and roads that are well maintained) ensures that new businesses invest in Colorado and that our workforce remains strong.
Colorado is a growing state, but maintains a healthy competition against our neighbor to the west—Utah. Compared to Colorado, Utah has half of the population, more than 700 miles of lanes and similar outdoor offerings. Without an effective transportation system that is well maintained, Colorado could face losing revenue as young entrepreneurs look to Utah (currently Colorado has a $9 billion transportation funding deficit). Both elected officials and private-sector leaders understand that to keep Colorado competitive transportation needs to come first—the question is, where does the money come from?
Building a sustainable, reliable multi-modal system is a priority for our state’s elected officials and so is developing a stable funding mechanism. At the 8th Legislative Breakfast, Senator John Cooke presented two possibilities for increasing transportation funding: an increased gas tax or a sales tax. To ensure that sales tax is applied to transportation, safeguards would need to be in place and the public would need to be involved in the conversation. As Representative Diane Mitsch Bush noted, the public needs to understand issues as well as the legislators working on them. For transportation funding to go into effect, the public needs to understand the significance of transportation and the investment that their tax dollars make.
Learn more about the policies Commuting Solutions and the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition support, and stay in touch with Commuting Solutions as we prioritize 2017 as the year for transportation!