In the last four years, I’ve spent thousands of hours in my car commuting to work, driving my kids to after school activities, and heading west to go hiking on the weekends. At least half of those hours are wasted time because I’m stuck in traffic — valuable time I could be spending meeting with my neighbors, hanging out with my family, or volunteering at my kids’ school.
You know what I’m talking about: getting stuck at rush hour bottlenecks at I-25 and 84th and sitting through three red lights trying to make a left hand turn off of 120th.
North Metro is our home — it should be a place where we can get to work, school, and play easily and quickly. And our economy depends on our businesses being able to move materials and people efficiently. But we’ve gotten the short end of the transportation stick — no promised train, forced toll lanes, and traffic jams that take away from family time, causes us to be late for work and makes us all frustrated.
That’s why this session I was determined to find a solution via Senate Bill 1, the biggest increase in transportation funding in more than a decade to improve traffic congestion and get Coloradans where they need to go.
Passing SB1 was not easy. Like in years past, partisan gridlock threatened to push the issue off once again. But several of us interested in real solutions — and sick of sitting in traffic — came to the table to hammer out a proposal that passed both the House and the Senate.
To make an almost-immediate impact, SB1 front loads $645 million over the next two years and allocates $50 million to highways and transit annually for 20 years. It also will allows voters to vote on whether to approve additional funds in bond sales in 2019 if a citizen-led transportation-funding measure receives statewide approval during the coming 2018 election. This commitment is significant but fiscally responsible — the state will be able to meet its obligations in both good and bad economic times.
It means better roads, more affordable transit, and plans for bike paths and more walkable neighborhoods so we can spent more time doing what we want to do with far less frustration.
There were Republicans who wanted to spend more and focus only on roads. There were Democrats worried about competing priorities who wanted to spend less. Knowing that fixing traffic woes is on the top of my constituents’ list of concerns, I worked on this solution that won’t mortgage our future but will make a big difference in people’s everyday lives.
I’m proud to have been a leader in finding a solution to our transportation problem — it’s good for our economy, it is good for local governments, it is good for cities, it is good for counties, and it’s good for families. Here’s to spending less time in our cars and more time at home, school, and parks!