Modernizing Our Infrastructure, Investing In Our Future
Colorado’s infrastructure is crumbling - Noel knows it because he sees it - and so do the people of Colorado. A modern Colorado demands modern infrastructure. Our state’s roads, highways, and bridges are dangerously below safety code and are in dire need of repair. And we are drastically underinvesting in infrastructure. Our state spends $160 million on infrastructure every year. Utah has half the number of roads we do, but they spend $650 million on infrastructure annually. Almost ½ of Colorado’s major roads are in poor condition, making it increasingly difficult to attract new business, get across town efficiently, or avoid car damages. Our underinvestment costs Colorado’s drivers pay an estimated $6.8 billion annually for wasted time, fuel, and car damages that could be avoided with an adequate roadway system, and if we keep ignoring the problem, it will end up costing us even more in the long run.
For too many years, we have vastly underfunded the infrastructure that we all depend on. Our broken infrastructure system has been a burden for both urban and rural Colorado, a problem we will no longer tolerate. Colorado’s population and economy are growing. This growth creates new opportunities and challenges for the next governor, but with Noel’s exceptional leadership, you can be sure that your taxpayer dollars will go to work by helping rebuild Colorado.
As Governor, Noel will ensure the state expands its infrastructure funding to tackle these issues - not only because we need it, but because it will generate economic development and strong job growth across our state. Noel’s plan to invest in Colorado infrastructure will be based on CDOT studies of our infrastructure needs, the state’s revenue generation, and the recommendations of the Statewide Development Board (explained below). With this information, Noel will go to the taxpayer to present the findings, and if necessary, make the case for an investment from the taxpayers in our infrastructure. He will utilize financial tools, and our strong economy to bond projects when appropriate, and in doing so, extend the use of state dollars where possible.
Create thousands of Middle-Class Jobs by hiring Coloradans - Too often, Colorado imports skilled workers to complete our major infrastructure projects. As Governor, Noel will prioritize giving contracts for major infrastructure projects to companies that hire local Coloradans.
Create a Statewide Planning and Development board with members from our transportation, housing, economic development, water, energy, and infrastructure offices, along with leadership from rural Colorado will ensure our infrastructure projects are coordinated across departments and are focused on creating the largest impact for communities across our state. For example, this board can unlock the benefits of affordable housing and economic development by creating mass transit systems that connect residents in affordable housing units to areas of high economic development. As our mass transit systems develop, Colorado can unlock opportunities like this not only within communities but between communities.
- Did you know that county transit departments do not have a platform on which to coordinate mass transit or infrastructure projects with one another? Communities like Denver, Highlands Ranch, and Colorado Springs do not have established pathways to coordinate major infrastructure or transit projects. That is why a new statewide development board will help communities unlock new benefit’s for all Coloradans by opening new pathways for collaboration and partnership that will ensure all projects have the greatest impact for Colorado.
Make high-speed Internet a reality for every Coloradan in every city and every rural community. It is unacceptable that in 2018, more than half a million Coloradans — many in rural communities — lack access to broadband. Giving them the ability to get online will make it easier to start a grow a business, get a world-class education, farm sustainably and efficiently, and unlock hundreds of millions of dollars in economic potential.
Work to generate new investment in multi-modal mass transit development, and not just in Denver. We must focus on connecting people and commerce to our smaller towns and communities too. For example, building passenger rail from Fort Collins to Trinidad would be an enormous driver of economic development in Colorado. Folks living in Pueblo could still work in Denver, or vice versa.
Improve our clean water infrastructure to ensure every Coloradan has access to reliable, clean drinking water. We can achieve this by following the solutions outlined in the Colorado Water Plan, and by utilizing the Statewide Planning and Development board that Noel is proposing to forge new partnerships between state agencies, communities, water boards, and water utilities to create financial plans that fund the water improvement projects that Colorado needs.
By rebuilding and modernizing our infrastructure and transportation systems, we can solve multiple challenges: creating thousands of middle-class jobs, saving state funding long term, reducing traffic congestion, improving safety, and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. As Colorado’s economy and revenue grow, we will need a governor who creates common-sense policies that generate results - Noel has a history of doing that for education and economic development, he is the best candidate to generate those results for our infrastructure.