21st Century Transportation
Colorado has a 20th century transit system that is wasteful, inefficient and expensive. Our public transportation system is small and woefully underfunded so that most Coloradans have no choice to but to drive to work, to ski, and to the grocery store. It does not help that the car they drive are mainly gasoline guzzlers, producing air pollution and global warming pollution and costing consumers more and more money as gas prices go up. In addition, the sprawling growth of Colorado has led Coloradans to have to drive farther and farther on increasingly worn down and expensive highways causing consumers to spend unnecessary amounts of money on repairing their cars and maintain roads. These sprawling highways have not relived our traffic woes with more and more people stuck in traffic every day. This problem affects the entire state, whether you are driving along the I-25 corridor from the Wyoming border through Fort Collins, Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and down to New Mexico, if you travel the I-70 corridor from DIA to the mountains, or if you are commuting between Greeley and Fort Collins or around the areas surrounding Durango, Aspen, or Grand Junction.
Colorado is not the exception.
- Our national transportation system consumes more oil than any other entire economy in the world, except China’s.
- Our nation’s growing addiction to oil is increasingly costly and leaves us dependent on often-unfriendly foreign nations.
- Transportation is responsible for a third of our nation’s global warming pollution.
- The number of miles Americans drive has doubled over the past generation leading to increasingly gridlocked roads.
- Commuters waste an average of 38 hours a year stuck in traffic delays, compared to 14 hours in 1982.
Why is our transportation system so bad? - The powerful road-building lobby has worked over the years to make sure that every time the funding went to transportation, it favored building new highways over public transportation or “complete streets” – streets that get people out of their cars by building bike paths, safe sidewalks and transit-friendly upgrades like bus turnouts. There efforts have been quite. Since 1956, the federal government has spent 9 times more on highways and new roads then public transit.
To make matters worse, Colorado has special budget limitations that make it nearly impossible to invest in public transportation without relying on federal money.
21st Century Vision for Colorado’s Public Transportation Infrastructure
Public Transportation is a proven way of addressing the problems associated with our 20th century transportation system by reducing oil consumption, traffic congestion, and global warming pollution.
- A full bus, for instance, replaces fifty cars on the road.
- Right now America’s rail and bus systems reduce oil consumption by 3.4 billion gallons annually
- Right now America’s rail and bus systems save Americans 540 million hours of traffic delays,
- Right now America’s rail and bus systems avoid 26 million tons of global warming emissions.
With Colorado’s population set to double in the next 20-30 years, we need to fundamentally change the way we move around Colorado. We need a vision that allows Coloradans to move around the state and in their local communities without a car. That vision includes the following:
- High-Speed Rail along the Front Range I-25 corridor.
- Rail and Alternative Transportation along the I-70 corridor from DIA to the Mountains and Ski Areas
- Completion of Denver’s light-rail and rapid bus regional transit network also known as FasTracks
- Sustainable and Fully-funded transit agencies in urban and rural areas of the state.
- Regional transit routes connecting the four corners of Colorado with Denver
- Rebuilt and modernized roads that include pedestrian, bicycle and transit-friendly-upgrades.
- Road privatization deals that include stringent consumer protection components.
CoPIRG is working to build support for this vision and show our elected officials that Coloradans want to see our transportation system come into the 21st Century.
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