We’re spending more time in traffic, and it’s really costing us! How much, exactly? Here in the Denver metro area we are spending an extra 52 hours each year in our cars due to congestion. And, our deteriorated, congested roads are costing us an extra $2,306 due to damage to our vehicles. These dollars really add up! According to the TRIP report released last week, Coloradans are paying a total of $7.1 billion each year because of our failure to invest in our transportation system. These costs and lost time are hurting our businesses and negatively impacting our quality of life.
Even more depressing is the fact that these costs are growing for us. When TRIP released this report last year, each metro area driver was spending $2,162 and the state was losing about $6.8 billion. The cost to each of us grew more than 6 percent in just one year. This report reminds us that the right investments in our infrastructure actually costs all of us less.
These costs are why so many Coloradans are demanding that we invest in our transportation system. As a matter fact, when a coalition of partners came together from Colorado Mesa University, Colorado Association of School Boards, Colorado Counties Inc., the Colorado Municipal League and the Special Districts Association, and asked residents what their biggest concerns were, well over 50 percent responded with transportation-related challenges. And, 55 percent expressed concern about the lack of access to safe and free-flowing highways and roads – and there’s no significant difference whether you live in urban or rural parts of Colorado.
We agree with the many Coloradans who are calling for action. As we told you in May, the statewide transportation coalition we are part of will give voters the opportunity to address our woefully underfunded transportation system in November. It would fund $6 billion of the state’s most critical projects and provide cities and counties funding to address our local needs. (BTW, did you know that 88 percent of our roads are not state highways but maintained by local governments?) The proposal will raise sales tax by 0.62 percent, ensuring that those 55 million tourists who come to our state each year help pay for our roads too.
We are collecting signatures from registered voters – be sure to sign a petition next time you are in the Chamber. I don’t know about you but I could use those 52 hours back, and there are lots of things I would rather spend that $2,306 on than my car. Here’s ways you can help this effort to get your time and money back too:
Kelly Brough is the president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber.