Transportation Policy

“No matter where in Colorado you live, you deserve a reliable, affordable, accessible transportation system that works for you and your family, now and in the future.”

 Jared Polis, Democrat for Governor

We’ve all seen and felt the impacts of Colorado’s growth in recent years. Traffic makes commutes longer and more crowded. Taking a quick trip to the mountains on the weekend means preparing for hours of delays. For our mountain communities, that results in more wear and tear on I-70, more accidents, more pollution, and hours of gridlock, closure, and lost jobs.


Making matters even more urgent, Colorado is expecting nearly one million new residents to move into our state in the next ten years alone , which equates to a 20 percent increase in vehicle travel.  


When you combine the expense of accidents, lost productivity, and dollars burned in travel delays, our transportation woes are already costing Coloradans more than $6.7 billion per year. We simply can’t afford not to act!


To create more opportunities for people to live a good life, we can’t just throw money at old problems without any new solutions.

We need a bold new vision to make our state more livable and to improve our economy, and I have a plan to do it:

Fixing Colorado’s Crumbling Infrastructure

Establishing Freedom of Mobility with Front Range Rail and Mass Transit

Creating a Smarter Approach to Infrastructure

Fixing Colorado’s Crumbling Infrastructure

Colorado must make sure that our roads and highways get the maintenance they need. Nearly 70 percent of our roads and highways are in poor or mediocre condition, and each Colorado driver pays $287 in car repairs per year as a result of the damage due to driving on roads.  Correcting this is as much about public safety as it is about reducing congestion.


As Governor Hickenlooper has said, Utah has half as many people as Colorado, but invests nearly four times what Colorado does toward improving road capacity each year.  Underinvestment has left us with $9 billion of unmet transportation needs as congestion gets worse and worse. This is simply not fair to Coloradans and puts the future of our economy at risk.


That’s why I agree with the large and diverse coalition of local governments, businesses, Republicans, Democrats, advocacy groups, and citizens that believes Colorado voters should have a say in investing new revenue toward fixing our crumbling infrastructure.

As governor I will:

  • Support and work alongside a diverse group of stakeholders of all geographic and political persuasions to ensure that we narrowly identify new sources of revenue and wisely invest where it’s needed most, such as relieving congestion across the state, improving rural roads, and fixing potholes that damage our vehicles and cause accidents.


  • Challenge lawmakers who are serious about finding existing dollars in our General Fund to devote to transportation to roll up their sleeves and work with me in identifying and redirecting resources without harming K-12 students, seniors, our public safety, and our healthcare system.


  • Ensure that locally driven multimodal transportation options share in any revenue.


  • Continue support for existing, effective electric vehicle (EV) and EV infrastructure policies — such as the purchase incentive, HOV lane access, and charging station network expansion— which have led to high uptake of EVs across the state, up to nearly 10,000 from just 20 in 2011.


  • Introduce new policies that will incentivize our state’s vehicle fleet to go electric and streamline the charging station permitting process, including clear planning guidelines, ordinances, and codes that support adoption of electric vehicles that will reduce pollution in our state.


  • Prioritize the hiring of Coloradans first, and utilize the best-trained workers in the state by using contractors that invest in United States Department of Labor registered apprenticeship programs, and our state’s best-value contracting law, to make sure the job is done well and with fair compensation and safe working conditions for workers.

Establishing Freedom of Mobility with Front Range Rail and Mass Transit

For decades, policymakers in Colorado have asked citizens to invest billions in short-term efforts to relieve congestion. It’s time for policymakers to think beyond short-term solutions that fail to reduce congestion in the long-term, and begin to give Coloradans more freedom over their commutes.


In 2017, the Colorado General Assembly created the Southwest Chief and Front Range Passenger Rail Commission to pursue building a high-speed commuter rail line that serves the Front Range of Colorado. Initial reports are promising and show a real path towards providing Coloradans with a modern high-speed transportation option that connects to our statewide transportation system. The Commission has requested an additional $8.7 million to conduct a high-quality public input process to determine the preferred route, station locations, and what type of train would best meet our transportation needs. As governor, I would support continuing the important work of this Commission.


Imagine being able to quickly commute anywhere between Fort Collins and Pueblo without the usual hassles of driving up and down I-25, like air and noise pollution, traffic, and icy roads. 

A comfortable, wi-fi connected, mass-transit option that is accessible and affordable may be the solution that makes this vision a reality.


Effective rail can help us get to work quicker and less expensively than driving a single-occupancy vehicle, especially when you consider the mounting costs of gas, maintenance, and depreciation of a car’s value. While Colorado will always continue to evaluate and aggressively pursue bringing emerging technologies like Hyperloop to our state, an economically viable rail option is a promising and attractive alternative to traveling by car.Colorado’s congested transportation system costs us $2.9 billion per year in lost productivity, and in traffic-related delays. That’s more than $500 for every Coloradan per year.  There are human costs to this problem, as well; the Colorado Department of Transportation estimates that Coloradans spend 124 hours per year in congestion-related delays.  That’s nearly 10 hours of extra time we could be spending with our friends and families per month if we reprioritized our efforts and fixed it.

Here are my priorities:

  • Provide the funds necessary to continue the commission’s work and to initiate a statewide stakeholder process.


  • Ensure that any funding proposal offered to the voters by my administration has undergone a rigorous, transparent, and statewide public-input process with high standards placed on responsiveness and community engagement. Coloradans will be the deciding factor on the type of train and route they want to build that will be best for them.


  • Aggressively pursue federal dollars for this project, such as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, and foster valuable industry partnerships that share in the cost of building Front Range Rail along new and existing rail lines.


  • Incentivizing use by connecting to our existing transportation system, including I-70, with access to the Denver-Winter Park Ski Train, Bustang, Light Rail, city buses, and ride-sharing services, while ensuring that Coloradans can easily get to and from transit options from their homes.


  • Push RTD to fulfill the commitments it made to voters under FasTracks including Northwest Rail


  • Strictly vet potential operators to make sure that Coloradans are getting the best bang for their buck.


  • Innovate as we design by working with local communities to zone for and provide transit-oriented attainable housing at stops along the rail that help people live affordably closer to their work and multiple transportation options.


  • Prioritize the hiring of Coloradans first, and utilize the best-trained workers in the state by using contractors that invest in United States Department of Labor registered apprenticeship programs, and our state’s best-value contracting law, to make sure the job is done well and with fair compensation and safe working conditions for workers.

Create a Smarter Approach to Infrastructure

The fastest and most cost-effective transportation system is one that reduces our need to travel and provides us the freedom to travel easily when we do. Building a universal 21st-century digital infrastructure enables more Coloradans to telecommute and can be a lifeline for many rural communities that rely on telemedicine. Whether you’re a senior who wants to video chat with the grandkids in Texas, or an entrepreneur looking to compete in a global economy, creative approaches to infrastructure play a significant role in making sure all Coloradans can live a good life in a changing economy.

Expanding broadband to every corner of the state:

  • Small businesses know that hiring top talent might mean recruiting workers who live hundreds or thousands of miles away, and rural Coloradans can benefit from telecommuting and the wider availability of telemedicine/telehealth. Any plan for infrastructure that doesn’t include making sure Colorado has universal access to high-speed internet is simply an outdated proposal.


  • Our Broadband Deployment Fund could fund internet projects across the state, but the law surrounding it is vague and murky, resulting in slow-moving investments in building out high-speed internet. We will speed that investment by changing the law to move resources faster.


  • We’ll give rural towns and citizens the freedom to plan for and invest in broadband by removing the antiquated requirement to conduct costly and time-intensive elections to do so. Municipal broadband is one of the most powerful consumer protection tools we have to preserve net neutrality and maintain an open internet.


  • Colorado will partner with local governments to create strategic regional broadband plans and support public-private partnerships by encouraging state agencies to collaborate in building reliable internet across the state using existing resources.


  • I’ll leverage existing public broadband infrastructure from CDOT and school districts to enhance access in communities across our state. 


  • I will nominate Public Utility Commission members who support building out rural broadband and side with consumers over well-funded special interests. I will also encourage CDOT to coordinate with local governments in using existing fiber lines and resources to close service gaps. 
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