Columnists, Governor Polis, Jon Caldara, Transit, Transportation, Uncategorized

Caldara: The Polis plan to make traffic even worse

Your car pollutes the most in stop-and-go traffic. It pollutes least when cruising the highway at a consistent speed.

The solution to this pollution challenge is perfectly aligned with the solution to your anger with the car stuck in front of you — get that car moving again.

But thanks to a new progressive “green” law, signed by our “libertarian” governor and implemented by his transportation department and local government elites, the traffic around Colorado will by design get progressively and quickly worse.

This is governmental malfeasance. It should be criminal.

Government in Colorado has a few core functions. After public safety and K-12 education comes building and maintaining a road infrastructure critical to our economic vitality and personal opportunities needed to keep Colorado thriving.

Look around right now. Everything you see around you has been brought there on a road. And if you’re reading this at work, almost everyone you see came in a car. Transit’s share of total commutes in the Denver metro area is around 4%.

Still, a vast majority of the area’s “transportation” funding goes to transit to serve a minority of a minority. The Regional Transportation District’s Fastracks debacle costs around $7.5 billion. Yet the whole state’s transportation wish list, via the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), is around $9 billion (and that laughably includes transit). Thus, you are stuck in traffic.

When your veins are bulging during your next parking-lot-on-the-highway moment, remember it’s not because we have too little money going to “transportation.” It’s that the money that should go to expand that highway went to a bike path or trolley car that statistically no one is using.

Like your biological bloodstream, without a healthy, free-flowing system of roads, we die. Colorado will die.

If there is ever a legitimate role for government, it is funding our system of roadways. No one else can do it.

So, while every line item in the state budget has exploded over the years, it is a surprise to no one stuck in traffic that road building has flat-lined for more than a decade.

Instead of re-prioritizing our bloated state budget to modernize our decomposing streets and festering highways, Team This-Is-How-We-Command-You-To-Live is working to get you on a bus at gunpoint.

The Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), think of it as Superman’s Hall of Justice except instead of being full of superheroes it’s full of trust-fund high schoolers out to save the world, is about to vote to ax desperately needed road expansions like that of Interstate-25 and C-470 and put the money to buses, trolleys and bike paths.

Beyond cancelling those highway projects, they want to take nearly a billion dollars away from roads to build “climate friendly transportation projects.”

Spurred by Gov. Jared Polis’ mandate to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, these representatives of the metro area’s local governments, DRCOG, will vote on this disastrous plan in a month.

Here’s a little something I don’t quite understand (but I didn’t get an Urban Studies degree at CU):

The Polis revolution is going to bring us free electricity that is net-zero, carbon-free and greenhouse-gas-free.

His subsidies of electric cars and charging stations means we’ll all be driving around pollution free.

And if that wasn’t enough, with his sole discretion he has tied Colorado to California’s low-emission and zero-emission car and truck standards, meaning every time Gavin Newsom gets indigestion from a bad chilidog and requires all cars to run off bunny flatulence in California, it includes Colorado too.

Sooooo… if cars no longer pollute, then why are Polis’ minions using the excuse of air pollution to make it nearly impossible to drive in Colorado?

Even if, and I know this is a stretch, there are a few cars left that run on fossil fuels after the Polis revolution outlaws them, don’t you want them in free-flowing traffic to keep their emissions at the lowest possible?

There is a guiding principle to transportation planning, and Polis, CDOT and every member of the Star Chamber called DRCOG should be asked by the media why they are opposing it:

“Every marginal transportation dollar should be used on what immediately reduces automobile traffic the most.”

We should pass a law that requires this simple directive be tattooed on the forearm of every transportation policy maker.

If you want to plead with the DRCOG elites to vote against their mobility-hating plan, they are taking public comment at:

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


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