Kicking Over the Transportation Funding Beehive
Last week I wrote about the progress being made toward getting I-25 widened.
Since then we had the Regional Issues Summit last Friday at the Embassy Suites in Loveland. The Summit was hosted by the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA, www.ncla.biz), which is a joint committee of the Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland Chambers of Commerce and Upstate Colorado Economic Development Corporation and Leadership Northern Colorado (www.LeadershipNorthernColorado.com), which is a joint project of the same three chambers and the community foundations in Larimer and Weld Counties.
Energy development, demographic trends, workforce development, the upcoming legislative session, NCLA’s regional agenda and water development were among the topics. It was a full and interesting morning. You can go here for some of the materials shared at the Summit.
But the first session of the day was about transportation, and I moderated a great panel of presenters. It was co-hosted by the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization. Obviously, widening of North I-25 was a key point of discussion. However, the larger theme was that Colorado needs to get serious about funding transportation. This includes the Governor, State Legislators and the public.
During the event the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance raised the stakes in the conversation by announcing the formation of Fix Colorado Roads. As we have worked on trying to secure the money to widen North I-25 it has become obvious to us that Colorado in general has not kept up on its commitment to maintain its highway and interstate system much less new capacity. The choice we have in Northern Colorado is between competing for limited highway funding with every other part of the state or for businesses across Colorado to communicate their expectations to state leaders that transportation needs to become a high priority.
I encourage you to visit the Fix Colorado Roads website to sign the petition.
All of this has been a bit like kicking over a beehive. Lots of buzzing, lots of running around, a bit of yelling and not many results to show yet. But, we have people’s attention, which is a first step. We want 2016 to be ‘the year of transportation’ in Colorado. While I don’t agree with all of their conclusions, as the media stories below indicate, we are creating a buzz around transportation funding.
Colorado Public Radio “$3.5B Bond for Colorado Roads Could Go Before Voters
Denver Business Journal “Colorado business leaders push for $3.5B road-funding measure”
Denver Post “Colorado roads need a bond program, group says”
Fort Collins Coloradoan “Coalition introduces $3.5B ‘Fix Colorado Roads Act’”
Loveland Reporter-Herald “Colorado highway funding could be on ’16 ballot”