FASTER puts 21st century transportation solutions on the fast track

Environment Colorado

Denver – Today, Gov. Bill Ritter signed FASTER, the transportation funding bill. Conservationists applauded Senate Bill 108 for funding transit and green transportation solutions.

“Colorado needs a 21st century funding solution, and FASTER helps put us on track towards a safer and greener transportation system,” said Elise Jones, Executive Director of Colorado Environmental Coalition. “In addition to helping Colorado fix its unsafe bridges and potholes, FASTER provides much-needed investments in transit and gives communities more tools to meet their citizens’ transportation needs.”

Sponsored by Sen. Dan Gibbs (D-Silverthorne) and Rep. Joe Rice (D-Littleton), FASTER would provide a new funding source for critical transportation system maintenance by raising vehicle registration fees an average of $41 over three years and adding a $2 daily fee to rental cars. The new funding stream is anticipated to provide about $250 million a year.

“If Colorado wants to reduce traffic jams, decrease commute times and lower global warming emissions, we need to give people more light rail, bus, bicycle and pedestrian options for getting where they want to go. FASTER helps do just that,” said Jones.

Proponents claim that FASTER will save 8,000 jobs and create additional ones. Conservationists praise the bill’s emphasis on using a new revenue stream to fix existing capacity first, as well developing tools that help pave the way for new transit infrastructure. Fixing existing infrastructure creates on average 10% more jobs per dollar than new road or bridge construction, and investment in new transit projects about 19% more jobs per dollar.

“Colorado is on the road to a green recovery,” concluded Pam Kiely, legislative program director with Environment Colorado. “Once again, Gov. Ritter and legislative leadership have led the way to invest in 21st Century technologies that will create jobs, rebuild our economy, and ensure a cleaner, more secure future for Colorado.”

In particular, the Colorado Environmental Coalition and Environment Colorado

supported the bill’s provisions that:

  • Directs $15 million dollars annually to transit-related projects, including protecting the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and transit users on our roads;
  • Allows the RTD Board to ask metro-area voters to approve the necessary funding in order to complete the FasTracks transit system by clearing state statutory barriers to putting such an initiative on the ballot.
  • Allows local governments to toll existing roadways if affected communities give their support, creating a revenue stream for local governments that can support transit projects.