Colorado EditorialsHot Sheet

Transportation talks? Maybe if we first could seat them at the same table

Author: Dan Njegomir - February 14, 2017 - Updated: June 6, 2017

Like the basic salsa step — an attention getter with lots of flair, but it’s just forward and back; it goes nowhere — the 2017 legislature’s make-or-break transportation tango has shown little progress so far. That, despite weeks already in the media spotlight and all the prodding one could expect from well-intended editorial boards.

Wincingly aware of the gridlock at the Capitol — it could rival anything on our highways — the conveners and stakeholders behind the please-just-do-something/anything movement have scheduled an event they’ve dubbed “Driving Forward” on Feb. 21. You could say the event itself is driven by a sense of increasing urgency. OK, anxiety. Hosts are the Fix Colorado Roads coalition and Colorado Business Roundtable. It will serve as a forum that promises in a media alert to, “Bring together policymakers and business leaders as they address Colorado’s transportation crisis.” Again, that’s C-R-I-S-I-S. There’s even a prediction in the press release that the event will “jump-start a productive conversation.” Well, there’s always hope.

In the hot seat — er, on the guest list — are of course legislative linchpins Crisanta Duran, the House speaker, and Kevin Grantham, the Senate president. The event organizers — all forced smiles and clenched teeth, in the timeless tradition of indulgent parents tangling with recalcitrant teens — no doubt will be nudging the lawmakers up to the table. You get the idea.

Then again, who knows? Perhaps a breakthrough deal will have been reached by then. Perhaps. At any rate, here’s the better part of the press release from Fix Colorado Roads/Colorado Business Roundtable:

…key state policymakers will hear directly from the business community about how Colorado’s current transportation infrastructure system impacts business and commerce. The evening will also feature a conversation with legislative leaders about solutions being considered at the Capitol and the status of their negotiations.

This event brings together key players in the transportation discussion and comes after Senate President Kevin Grantham and Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran both promised to make transportation a priority in their opening day remarks of the 2017 legislative session, highlighting Colorado’s $9 billion transportation funding gap.

The need to repair and expand Colorado’s roads and bridges has never been so dire provided Colorado’s recent population boom and lack of a reliable, permanent funding source for transportation. Nine out of 10 voters agree that Colorado’s roads are in “desperate need of repair.”

A compromise solution has yet to be introduced at the Capitol; “Driving Forward” will jump start a productive conversation between the business community and policymakers about how to solve our state’s transportation crisis.

And what you really need to know:

WHO: Panel and presenters include:

WHERE: ICOSA Event Center 4100 Jackson Street Denver, CO 80216

WHEN: Feb.21

Panels and presentation: 4:30 – 6 PM

Networking and Happy Hour from 6 – 7 PM

 

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.