I support a strong and diverse transportation system for the people of Colorado. This means good roads to drive on, but it means much, much more. It means that people have choices, and can choose to walk, bike or take a bus or train to their destination. It means that our children can walk or bike to school. It means that our elderly parents and ourselves, as we grow older, can maintain mobility and freedom of movement. It means that communities have viable, affordable means of alternative transportation that allows them to grow in a sustainable way.
Our transportation system is crumbling. Potholes are growing, roads need repaving and many of our bridges are structurally unsafe. We must invest in our existing infrastructure. We have spent millions of tax dollars over the decades to build a huge network of roads and bridges, and it's essential that we invest the necessary dollars to keep it functioning.
I support additional revenue for transportation, with a couple of important caveats:
· First, any additional funding must go to fixing our existing system and to expanding the range of transportation options available to the people of Colorado. This means better bus services both within and between our communities, and it means better bike paths and sidewalks. It means building "complete streets" that accommodate all modes of transportation. It means exploring options like passenger rail service and encouraging alternative fuels and hybrid vehicles.
· Second, any new revenue streams for transportation should be user based. The gas tax is a good example, because the more a person drives, the more gas tax that person pays. The concept of charging tolls should be further explored, as long as the focus is on using tolls to manage traffic and congestion in addition to raising revenues. Most often this would involve special tolling and HOV "Hot" lanes, allowing transit and those who car pool free access while charging for single person vehicles who choose to pay. These revenues should then be focused on providing affordable choices so people do not always have to drive.
Building a balanced system that provides travel choices is our best strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Only when people have options on how they get around can we expect them not to drive so far, so often. Transportation's contribution to climate change is significant, and we must be proactive in addressing it.
The west is a land of wide-open spaces. It is a key part of the great beauty and appeal of our state, yet it has led us to some unwise practices in the past. Sprawling development, stretching across the plains and into the mountains, has wasted precious open space and required building of many miles of new roads. These patterns of development mean that people live far from where they work, go to school and shop. Their only option, in far too many cases, is to drive many miles each day. We must rethink our land use practices, and more closely link transportation and land use policies. Rather than using our scarce transportation dollars to build new roads and to serve sprawling new developments, we should bring the developments in closer and use the money to run buses, build sidewalks and maintain our existing system. Let's build communities where people have real choices on how they get around.