The debate over Colorado's roads has become stuck in cost. Politicians and the press are fixated on CDOT's prediction that they'll need an extra $9 billion in the next decade, and without any scrutiny, this number has become a given.
What we are sorely missing is a vision for the infrastructure we want to create, and a long-term plan detailing how we want to achieve it.
Bureaucracies develop slowly, creeping over time as bureaucrats work to expand their budgets at the expense of taxpayers. We need to hire leaders for our transit agencies that have proven track records of culling inefficiency, cutting waste, and succeeding in the private sector.
In the private sector, without the benefit of an endless pool of taxpayer dollars, costs tend to decline as efficiencies are discovered. Instead, CDOT's maintenance cost per mile has risen steadily over the past decade. We must ensure that this number gets pushed back down.
One way to do this is to outsource ongoing maintenance to the private sector to take advantage of their greater efficiency. In Florida, when they used this strategy, even the highest private sector bid was 12% below the department of transportation's initial cost estimate, allowing them to realize immediate savings. By cutting costs on things like maintenance, we can reinvest that money where it's needed -- in construction projects to upgrade and expand our aging roads.
Our traffic problems have now reached crisis levels because we never developed a long-term strategy to improve our roads. Roads can't be built overnight, and with a population that's growing as rapidly as it is in Colorado, we need to fix this problem now in order to be prepared for the problems we'll face in ten years.
Already there are clear pain points in our roads, places where we must make immediate improvements. We'll begin by:
During the first year of a Robinson administration, we will begin work on all of these projects.
Over the last seven years of the Hickenlooper administration, CDOT has been allocated almost no money from the general fund. And now we’re at a breaking point. We will make fixing our roads a priority in my administration.
When I’m governor, we will keep our eyes on the future to make sure that we recruit the best talent to lead our transportation agencies, give them a mandate to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, and develop a detailed long-term plan for specific projects to be achieved.