DENVER, Colo. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, and Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock today held the last of 11 nationwide regional forums on the Beyond Traffic draft framework at Mile High United Way’s CoBank Leadership Center. The Beyond Traffic report examines the trends and choices facing America’s transportation infrastructure over the next three decades, including a rapidly growing population, increasing freight volume, demographic shifts in rural and urban areas, and a transportation system facing more frequent extreme weather events. The report predicts increased gridlock nationwide unless changes are made in the near-term.
The meeting allowed citizens, elected officials, metropolitan planners, transportation industry partners, business owners, and community leaders to learn more about the framework and ask questions about the trends identified in it. Secretary Foxx, Governor Hickenlooper, and Mayor Hancock also solicited input from the participants on their region-specific experiences and asked for ideas on how to solve those challenges.
“Today, we brought together citizens from across the megaregion for a constructive conversation about the critical decisions in transportation that this nation will face over the next 30 years,” said Secretary Foxx. “The feedback we received today, and throughout the last couple of months, will be instrumental in developing a final report that encompasses the thoughts of individuals across the nation that know their transportation systems best.”
By 2050, the population of the Front Range megaregion – which includes Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, Denver, and Santa Fe – is expected to increase by 87% percent. But, as the condition of transportation infrastructure continues to worsen due to a lack of long-term federal investment, leaders within the region have critical decisions to make in order to accommodate this growth in population while preserving quality of life.
“Transportation and the connectivity it provides is what keeps cities going. This is a critical issue, and one that is reaching a boiling point nationwide,” Mayor Hancock said. “These new realities demand new ways of thinking. We know that takes new vision, renewed leadership and significant investment, and we’re proud to share the experiences of the Front Range as the Department of Transportation undertakes this wider effort.”
Following remarks by Governor Hickenlooper, Mayor Hancock, and Secretary Foxx and a presentation from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Beyond Traffic team, the Governor, Mayor Hancock, and Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Kelly Brough, and Regional Plan Association’s America 2050 Founder & Co-Chair Bob Yaro participated in a panel focusing on the impact of Beyond Traffic trends in the region. The last half of the program engaged attendees in a facilitated conversation, giving them the opportunity to share feedback that will inform the final Beyond Traffic report when it is published in 2016.
In addition to this forum, the Secretary, Governor, and Mayor on Wednesday will be participating in Colorado Department of Transportation’s Colorado Transportation Matters Summit. During the event, they will discuss the future of transportation, focusing on innovative technologies as well as challenges and opportunities facing both Colorado and the nation.
To learn more about Beyond Traffic or to read the full framework, click here.