1/14/2013 2:58:00 PM
1/4/2013 9:46:00 PM
2/4/2013 10:43:00 AM
Truck and New Mown Hay
6/23/2012 1:24:00 PM
Truck at Lemonade Stand
6/13/2012 4:39:00 PM
Truck at VFW
6/21/2012 7:46:00 PM
Ed Stein's View
6/24/2012 9:09:00 AM
Ultra Media Gallery 8
Immigration and Employment
Sustainablilty and the Environment
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Monthly Town Hall Meetings
Lakewood Town Hall
Saturday October 5th
9:30am - 11:00am
Topic: Ballot issues on School Funding and Marijuana Regulation Tax
Lakewood Cultural Center
470 S. Allison Pkwy
Chairman, Transportation and Energy Committee
Member, Public Health Care and Human Services & Appropriations Committees
Colorado Infrastructure: Slow Motion Destruction
September’s floods created unforgettable images. Highways sliced in two. Roads chewed up. Asphalt spewing into rivers. Pick-ups jammed hood-first into the creekbed after torrents swallowed a bridge.
When floods wreck infrastructure it’s dramatic and very, very visible. As chair of Colorado House of Representatives Transportation and Energy Committee, our top priority over the last month has been to assist in flood recovery; 200 miles of state highway and 50 bridges have been damaged or otherwise impacted, and we will continue working diligently to help the victims of the flood and restore transportation routes to areas impacted by the disaster.
While the recovery has been our immediate priority, much of the committee's work has less visible causes; I am constantly reminded that our roads and bridges are, in actuality, constantly degrading. Usually it happens so slowly we just get used to it, and sometimes we can’t even see the damage because it’s hidden underneath the roadbed. But the damage is very real and if we want to keep driving to work, traveling to the mountains, and buying all the stuff in the stores that the truckers haul for us, we have to start paying attention and fixing it.
Last summer, our joint House & Senate transportation committee took a ten town Colorado road trip. We saw roads that have not been upgraded since the Eisenhower Administration. Well over three-quarters of our citizens can’t even remember the Eisenhower Administration. The great majority hadn’t even been born yet. We have roads without shoulders: if a trucker or a driver has a safety problem, there’s no place to pull over. The substrate is collapsing. Metro and mountain traffic jams cost time and money. One study out of Texas estimates that the average American commuter wastes $800 a year in time and fuel just sitting in traffic. Everybody who knows anything about roads (the business community, engineers, policy-makers) knows that we have been underfunding our transportation system for decades and it’s getting worse.
It’s a problem that we just get used to all of this. Good infrastructure is essential to our economy, but it doesn’t grab our attention the way issues such as education and health care do. It should. And I’m working at the Capitol to find some creative ways to improve transportation.
Thanks to our younger generation, who choose trains and buses over cars more often than their parents did, much of the solution will come from increasing transit options. According to a recent study, the average Coloradan between the ages of 16 and 34 drove 20 percent fewer miles in 2009 than the average young person did in 2001. They get places on bus, bike, and light rail instead. This is exciting, because transit is not only friendlier to the environment, fewer cars means less congestion and less wear and tear on the roads we will still always need.
There’s more good news! Just about everybody who lives in my district has driven Garrison under the Sixth Avenue overpass and, if you glanced up, thought, “Hmmm. That doesn’t look so good.” The Garrison St. bridge replacement starts this coming spring. Watch for that big improvement (and apologies ahead of time for the delays it will temporarily cause), and help me with your suggestions for innovative ways to put our roads, bridges and transit back in good shape. Safe and sufficient roads and transit are essential for growing our economy.
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Copyright 2012 by Max Tyler