Regional Planning

Colorado’s recent population boom has brought economic stimulation and increased tax revenue, but has also brought more drivers to our roads. This unprecedented growth is putting a strain on an already deficient transportation budget and Colorado’s roads, 52 percent of which are in poor condition. Learn how Commuting Solutions is working with regional planning efforts.

Highway Users Tax Fund (HUTF)

The main funding source for transportation infrastructure is the Highway Users Tax Fund (HUTF), which is funded by a state gas tax and license/registration fees. Though the price of gas has steadily increased, the gas tax rate has remained unchanged since 1991, and now accounts for a mere 22 cents per gallon of gas.

After 11 percent is automatically allocated to help fund Colorado State Patrol and the Department of Motor Vehicles, the remainder is split with 60 percent going to CDOT and 40 percent going to cities and counties. Annually, CDOT receives $400 million from the HUTF, but spends over $684 million just to maintain the current system, accounting for 63 percent of their $1.1 billion budget.

Graph of Gas Taxes Since 1993 showing gas prices going up from $1 to over $3 and gas tax staying flat.
Transportation funding is complemented by FASTER, which raises about $200 million annually through vehicle registration fees. Since this program’s inception, 121 bridges received improvements and nearly 300 safety projects were funded. Even taking this additional funding into account, there is still an annual transportation funding shortfall of $772 million.

Northwest Area Mobility Study

The Northwest Area Mobility Study (NAMS) is a collaborative effort that addressed significant cost increases and delays associated with building and operating the 41-mile Northwest Rail commuter rail line from Longmont to Denver. The study concluded with elected officials, the Regional Transportation District (RTD), Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and 13 area jurisdictions and agencies reaching consensus on transit priorities in the region.

Areas in the Northwest Corridor:

Conceptual View of the SH 119 Bikeway

CO Highway 119

CO Highway 119, locally known as the Diagonal, connects Boulder to Longmont and travels through Gunbarrel and Niwot. Currently there are 45,000 vehicles a day that travel along the corridor.

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Woman smiles as she exits RTD Flatiron Flyer bus

CO Highway 42

The Cities of Lafayette and Louisville are working together to envision the future of State Highway 42 (also known as 95th Street, CO 42 or Courtesy Road) for people to walk, bike, ride transit or drive.

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Flatiron Flyer bus outside RTD station

CO Highway 7

The Colorado State Highway 7 (CO 7) corridor between Brighton and Boulder is well positioned to develop as a corridor of local livability and multimodal regional access.

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RTD train rides down track

RTD FasTracks

In March 2019, the Northwest Mayors & Commissioners Coalition released a letter reconfirming their commitment to Northwest Rail and Peak Service exploration.

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Group waits in line to board RTD Flatiron Flyer image

US 287

Boulder County, in coordination with stakeholders, regional partners and members of the public, is starting a multi-phased re-envisioning process of US 287.

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State of Transportation in the Next 20 Years

The struggle to maintain existing infrastructure makes the task of effectively addressing the increasing issues with regional mobility and congestion nearly impossible. It is estimated that the population of Colorado will grow by 48 percent and vehicle miles traveled will increase by 64 percent in the next 20 years. If in that same time frame no additional infrastructure is constructed, Coloradoans can expect an estimated 158 percent increase in traffic delays. What is now a 17 minute commute will become more than 44 minutes.

To get a better idea of the current state of transportation in Colorado, download the MPACT64 presentation below.