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.
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