Hill: The Future is not near, it’s here - Colorado Politics

Hill: The Future is not near, it’s here

Author: Sen. Owen Hill - March 27, 2017 - Updated: March 27, 2017

Sen. Owen Hill
Sen. Owen Hill

Mornings are rough. Stop-and go-traffic on I-25 can feel more like a nauseating carnival ride than a highway. It’s no easier in the city. A car just ahead with out-of-state plates slams on its brakes and that cup of morning coffee flies through the air, staining your shirt. The car ahead is now attempting to parallel park, and doing a pretty poor job of it. The minutes tick by until traffic opens up enough to swerve angrily around the parallel parking pariah, narrowly avoiding a pedestrian who decided to walk diagonally across a busy downtown intersection. Arrive at work late, stained, smelling like dark roast and at peak levels of frustration. Time to start the day.

Now imagine kissing the kids goodbye in the morning before cruising down I-25, smoothly navigating the urban obstacles, expertly parallel parking all while you casually sip your dark roast —spill free — and read the morning paper. Maybe there’s even time to send your spouse a sweet message or stop for bagels for the office. You’ve guaranteed yourself a safe and productive morning all with the push of one sleek button. Spend the rest of the day whistling the theme song to the Andy Griffith Show, the world is yours.

Last week, the Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee unanimously approved my bill to allow self-driving cars in Colorado. Senate Bill 213 lays the groundwork for the development of these driverless cars in Colorado. This legislation specifically allows these cars to operate within Colorado by creating a loose framework for lawmakers to continue to legislate on this issue as technology progresses in the years to come. It’s time for us to invest in our future and signal to technology and manufacturing firms that Colorado is open for business.

In 2016, Uber was forced to pull driverless cars, part of a pilot program, off San Francisco streets after California put the brakes on vehicle registrations for self-driving technology. The project was then moved to Arizona where Gov. Doug Ducey welcomed the innovation with open arms. SB 213 would open the door to successful projects in Colorado, paving the way for more local jobs in this burgeoning industry.

As more and more tech and manufacturing firms seek to leave the oppressive regulations and high costs of doing business in Silicon Valley, Colorado politicians are doing everything in our power to make Colorado an attractive market to relocate to. It is our duty as public servants to foster a competitive job market for Coloradans and help everyone in our state start on a path to a more prosperous future. By repealing burdensome regulations, laying the framework for new innovative technologies, and welcoming those entrepreneurs who are brave enough to take a chance on a bold idea, we can usher in a new era of economic growth in Colorado.

Many states lack the imagination to see the possibilities of a brighter future, and the dedication to pioneering innovative legislation like we have, here in Colorado. Our state is often on the cutting edge of new technologies and policies because Coloradans aren’t afraid to think outside the box and look ahead to what’s next.

Driverless cars are simply the beginning. It’s time to firmly establish Colorado’s place at the forefront of innovation and technology. It’s time to let our imagination run wild and look to all the possibilities the future has in store for Colorado. Bold and brave initiatives led by a team of trailblazers in every corner of our state will pave the way for what is to come in our state. We’re pioneers in Colorado. It’s time to act and ensure our vision of how to thrive in the west becomes a reality. The future is not near, it’s here.

Sen. Owen Hill

Sen. Owen Hill

Owen Hill is a state senator from Colorado Springs. He holds an Economics degree from the Air Force Academy and a Ph.D. in Policy Analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

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