DENVER, Colo. — A Way Forward, a coalition of over 45 business organizations advocating for safer roads and less traffic congestion, today announced a framework for a solution to Colorado’s failing roadways and traffic woes. In a virtual transportation summit, members of the A Way Forward executive committee, Gov. Jared Polis, Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Shoshana Lew, and others joined a discussion aimed at taking legislative action in 2021. 

“The transportation framework we have proposed enjoys broad support among Coloradans of all political stripes. The time is now to act on behalf of the people of Colorado. They’re counting on our leadership and ability to unite around this common need,” said Mike Kopp, president and CEO of Colorado Concern, and executive committee member of A Way Forward. “Polling on transportation shows that 61% of Coloradans, including a majority of both Republicans and Democrats, will support a ten-year plan to address both urgently needed road repair projects and reduce traffic delays in high congestion corridors that is 50% paid for by existing taxpayer funds, and 50% paid for by usage-based fees that would permanently sunset after ten years.”

“Unsafe roads and out-of-control traffic cost Colorado drivers over $7.1 billion annually, according to TRIP, a national transportation research group. In Denver alone, the cost was $1.2 billion – equivalent to $2,300 per driver per year. Further, a recent study by Zebra found that Denver had the second-worst roads in the country. Additionally, 20% of Colorado’s major urban roads and highways are in poor condition,” said Robin Brown, executive director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.

“The lack of improvements has translated into more accidents and fatalities, of which some could have been avoided if critical projects moved forward. Colorado’s transportation system was built for a population of 3.5 million and its population is more than 5 million. By 2050, demographers predict a population of 8.7 million. Colorado’s current transportation system is straining under our ever-increasing population,” said Sanda Hagen Solin, executive director of Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance. 

“Costs to business and the public due to increasing traffic congestion really manifest as a hidden tax that increases each year,” said Greg Fulton, president, Colorado Motor Carriers Association. “With a larger population, more business, and greater travel, we cannot afford for the system, such as Glenwood Canyon to go down for days or for I-25 to be shut down for hours without some alternatives or relief valves. We will have more problems with natural disasters, rockslides, severe accidents, and more that may close key corridors for long periods of time. Each time one of these events happens, it costs businesses millions of dollars and delays travelers by hours. In addition to costing businesses more money due to higher transportation costs because of traffic congestion, businesses and industry are looking elsewhere for their company headquarters, plants, and operations. This is about more than just roads and bridges, but really addresses the challenges that our crumbling transportation system poses to Colorado’s economic vitality.”

A Way Forward proposes the legislature work together to address this by leveraging the Colorado Department of Transportation’s 10-year plan, which includes a highly-targeted and prioritized list of projects in every county, as a bipartisan solution to addressing public demand for government accountability.

Along with its framework, A Way Forward announced the executive committee leading this initiative: 

  • Gary Arnold, Business Manager, Denver Pipefitters Local 208
  • Rachel Beck, VP of Government Affairs, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC
  • Robin Brown, Executive Director, Grand Junction Economic Partnership
  • Kelly Brough, President & CEO, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • Dave Davia, Executive Vice President & CEO, Rocky Mountain Mechanical Contractors Association  
  • Greg Fulton, President, Colorado Motor Carriers Association 
  • Loren Furman, Senior VP of State and Federal Relations, Colorado Chamber of Commerce
  • Tony Gagliardi, Colorado State Director, NFIB
  • Mike Kopp, President & CEO, Colorado Concern 
  • Tony Milo, Executive Director, Colorado Contractors Association
  • Elizabeth Peetz, VP of Government Affairs, Colorado Association of REALTORS
  • Jake Swanton, Public Policy for Rockies Region and SW, Lyft
  • Sandra Hagen Solin, Executive Director, Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance

“Transportation shouldn’t be a political issue,” said Gary Arnold, Business Manager of Denver Pipefitters Local 208. “But it does require leadership from our elected officials. We urge our legislative leaders to come together to meet this very basic and very real public need.”

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