Prop 110: Better for business on multiple levels

Colorado has obvious transportation shortfalls, but addressing this problem has been a huge debate for decades. In 2018, we have a great opportunity to take bold steps forward by passing Proposition 110, which will provide transportation improvements and economic benefits.

Transportation is vital for business, but on the flip side, substandard systems create barriers to commerce. Today, the Colorado Department of Transportation has about $9 billion in priority projects that can’t be built due to lack of funding. This means drivers and truckers experience frustrating traffic congestion, which slows the flow of goods and services, and employees sacrifice productive time while stuck in traffic jams.

Of the two transportation measures on this year’s ballot, Proposition 110 will accomplish far more than the competing Proposition 109. For highways, 110 authorizes $6 billion in financing so CDOT can tackle a list of projects on our interstates and state highways throughout Colorado. Visit https://www.codot.gov/programs/colorado-transportation-matters/together-we-g to see the list.

For BizWest readers in northern Colorado, it includes major items for Interstate 25 north of Colorado Highway 66, widening and interchange work for U.S. Highway 34, and a $100 million project for Colorado Highway 85. Boulder-area commuters would see Bus Rapid Transit and other improvements along Colorado Highway 119 between Boulder and Longmont, Colorado Highway 7 between Boulder and Brighton, and U.S. Highway 287 between Colorado Highway 66 and U.S. Highway 36.

Unlike Prop 109, the distribution in 110 also devotes 40 percent of funding to cities and counties — vitally important since most individual trips are of short distances, near where people live or work. Also, 15 percent of Prop 110 funding goes to multimodal needs, which will enable more car-free trips, limiting congestion and parking woes. Prop 109, however, has an explicit prohibition on funding for transit.

Unfortunately, the debate between 110 and 109 will center on whether we proceed with new taxes or without them — but they’re vastly different proposals in scope and purpose. Prop 110 does include a 20-year 0.62 percent sales tax, or about two cents on a typical cup of coffee. Prop 109 does not include a new tax, but would pay down $3.5 billion in bonding, with interest, from elsewhere in the state budget. This means the state might need to find an average of $260 million per year in payments from yet-to-be-identified budget cuts. Plus, Prop 110 not only devotes more highway funding than 109 — it also provides $8 billion over 20 years for local improvements and $3 billion for transit. 

A larger amount of transportation funding will certainly mean more economic activity. Numbers vary, but many studies conclude that for every $1 billion in new transportation spending, thousands of direct and indirect jobs are supported. Without crunching numbers, new construction undeniably generates demand for labor, engineering, equipment, materials and supplies, among other items.

Transportation upgrades also help auto owners, who know what it’s like to hit suspension-damaging potholes, or waste gas while idling. A 2018 study by TRIP (trip.org), “Colorado Transportation by the Numbers,” says each dollar for road, highway and bridge construction will yield an “average benefit of $5.20” in “reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions.”

Finally, Colorado is projected to add another 3 million people by 2050. Smart upgrades will keep our communities livable and help keep Colorado a desirable state in which to do business. Prop 110 is simply a better proposal for our modern times, with its combination of projects for interstates, highways, local roads, bike and pedestrian lanes, and transit. Please join me in voting yes on 110 and no on 109 when you get your ballot.

Audrey DeBarros is the executive director of Commuting Solutions, the transportation management organization for the northwest metro region.

Colorado has obvious transportation shortfalls, but addressing this problem has been a huge debate for decades. In 2018, we have a great opportunity to take bold steps forward by passing Proposition 110, which will provide transportation improvements and economic benefits.

Transportation is vital for business, but on the flip side, substandard systems create barriers to commerce. Today, the Colorado Department of Transportation has about $9 billion in priority projects that can’t be built due to lack of funding. This means drivers and truckers experience frustrating traffic congestion, which slows the flow of goods and services, and employees sacrifice productive time while stuck in traffic jams.

Of the two transportation measures on this year’s ballot, Proposition 110 will accomplish far more than the competing Proposition 109. For highways, 110 authorizes $6 billion in financing so CDOT can tackle a list of projects on our interstates and state highways throughout Colorado. Visit https://www.codot.gov/programs/colorado-transportation-matters/together-we-g to see the list.

For BizWest readers in northern Colorado, it includes major items for Interstate 25 north of Colorado Highway 66, widening and interchange work for U.S. Highway 34, and a $100 million project for Colorado Highway 85. Boulder-area commuters would see Bus Rapid Transit and other improvements along Colorado Highway 119 between Boulder and Longmont, Colorado Highway 7 between Boulder and Brighton, and U.S. Highway 287 between Colorado Highway 66 and U.S. Highway 36.

Unlike Prop 109, the distribution in 110 also devotes 40 percent of funding…