Guest Post: Why Proposition 110 is the only real option for Colorado

A woman walks south along Peoria Street in Montbello. That stretch of busy road lacks a connected sidewalk system. (Photo by Alex Burness for The Colorado Independent)

With more than $9 billion in deferred transportation infrastructure projects — and insufficient funds to complete them — Colorado is officially in a crisis.

This is especially true for Colorado’s low-income communities, where a lack of infrastructure can literally create life-or-death situations for residents. Proposition 110 is asking for six cents on each $10 purchase to solve many of these transportation problems — including fixing and enhancing roads and bridges as well as addressing lack of bus routes, crumbling sidewalks, and non-existent bike lanes. This sales tax does not apply to groceries, prescriptions, and utilities.

Forty percent of low-income communities have sidewalks, compared to 90 percent of higher-income communities, even though children from low-income families are twice as likely to walk to school than their peers from higher-income families. This correlates with statistics showing that African-American and Latino people are twice as likely as white people to be killed while walking, and over 20 percent more likely to be killed while bicycling than white people. Many of these deaths are a result of crumbling or non-existent walk and bike infrastructure in communities of color and low-income communities.

For example, a recent study of the northeast Denver neighborhood of Montbello, a community of 34,000 residents, composed of mostly Latino and African-American residents, shows that many of the neighborhood’s sidewalks have obstructions that crowd pedestrians off the sidewalk and into the street and many of the sidewalks are too narrow for two people to walk side-by-side. The study also found that crosswalks along residential streets were almost non-existent and in many cases the crossings lacked necessary markings and a lack of bus routes or stops.

Proposition 110 will give local governments dedicated funds to improve multimodal transportation options. Community groups and leaders will have an opportunity to work closely with their elected officials to advocate for these local investments to be invested in improving poor infrastructure usually found in lower-income areas. With those improvement residents will gain the ability to move around their neighborhoods and cities or towns without a car and link low-income people of all ages and abilities, regardless of whether they are traveling as drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, or public transportation riders.

This ballot initiative is endorsed by hundreds of elected officials, both Republicans and Democrats, including Governor John Hickenlooper.

What these supporters realize is that 110 is the only proposal that provides an immediate, adequate, and sustainable source of funding to fix the backlog of transportation infrastructure issues at state and local levels as well as to address multimodal projects that will improve the quality of life for all Coloradans. Equally as important, this initiative will not commit the state to billions in debt without creating a source of repayment, and it won’t divert money from other programs, such as education, health care, and routine transportation maintenance. Further, it simply asks everyone to pay their fair share, including cyclists who want wider shoulders, drivers of hybrid and electric vehicles, and the nearly 40 million tourists who visit Colorado every year.

Proposition 110 will dedicate 40 percent of the revenue to local projects in municipalities and counties. Local governments will have full flexibility in utilizing their share of the funding. This will allow communities to address their own unique needs, whether it is street repaving and pothole repair or wider shoulders to accommodate cyclists or improved intersection signals for better pedestrian safety. Proposition 110 recognizes the importance of regional projects, including rides for senior citizens and those with disabilities, bus services, and other important transportation investments that all Coloradans need.

A vote for Proposition 110 is an investment in your community, your safety, and your quality of life.

 

The Colorado Independent occasionally runs guest posts from government officials, local experts and concerned citizens on a variety of topics. These posts are meant to provide diverse perspectives and do not represent the views of The Independent. To pitch a guest post, please contact tips@coloradoindependent.com or visit our submission page

The Colorado Independent’s coverage of health equity issues is underwritten by LiveWell Colorado, a member of the Blueprint to End Hunger steering committee. In accordance with The Independent’s editorial independence policy, underwriters have no control over story selection or content.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Hm…there was “SKIP”. Then, “Referendum C & D”, etc… Now it’s “Proposition 110”. Every Primary Election, voters are presented with a sales tax increase towards funding Colorado’s Infrastructure. Voters continually elect this particular ballot measure thru. Yet somehow, Colorado’s Infrastructure is severely lacking in structure.

  2. Not that I’m opposed to investment(?) in infrastructure, but why is it that with every new tax or tax increase what we mainly get for that money is more over-paid Bureaucrats and ever-larger bureaucracies?

  3. The WTID wealth inequality index is at it’s highest level ever….with the ultra-wealthy hoarding more wealth than at any time prior in American history.
    The last time the WTID was near this level was in 1927-1928….just before the first Great Depression.
    Perhaps the ultra-wealthy were hoarding wealth in anticipation?

    They get tax cuts (just as they did in the late 1920’s), the corporations they own & control get over $110 BILLION in ANNUALl government subsidies……and the rest of us get more taxes…sometimes guised as protectionist “tariffs”.

  4. 110 is NOT the only real option for Colorado. Like 109, 110 is flawed. What voters REALLY need are these propositions to be better written, with specific objectives that can be traced back to the legislation. 109 does this, even though a lot of the money associated with that proposition will be headed to the Denver metro area – if it passes. If 110 passes, we can always hope that some of that money is available for ALL state roads – not just the Denver metro area.

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