First I will suggest who is at fault and then I will explain how it can be fixed. I know what I’m thinking is right. Therefore, I have no fear of repercussion.
Our government is to blame for the mess that has evolved and now, and in accordance with the way government operates, we must be patient while the inept employees we have elected and the ones they have hired in their tenure figure out who they should blame.
I have a dear friend that corrected me years ago when I observed, “They really take good care of the Interstate 70 corridor, don’t they?” Of course, I was referring to that scenic stretch of freeway that gets us back and forth from the Mountain Playground to Denver.
She said (and without any hesitation I agreed with her), “They only have one damn road to take care of, and it’s about Colorado’s economy. They better take care of it.”
That was almost 40 years ago, and the Eisenhower Tunnel had just been completed. Apparently, that gargantuan project covers a century’s worth of improvements, and everyone who gets paid to pay attention was too busy to forecast the next project.
A population growth rate that exceeds or rivals every other state in the union usually means that more people are coming — and bringing their cars. As a result, more cars are on the roads. The consequence is traffic.
Wait 40 years and there is no more traffic but rather, very long parking lots on I-70.
I was in one of those parking lots the other night. Seven and a half hours of my life were taken from me. I don’t blame it on the weather. It always snows. I disagree with CDOT when they exclaim “it’s the few guys with the bald tires or the semi without chains.” I blame it on the people who get paid to plan for a solution before it becomes a problem that has no solution. Triple the volume in an hourglass and the sand is going to take three hours to get through. Duh.
So, what is the solution? Short term seems to be in vogue these days, so I predict a lottery. No one will be permitted on the freeway who does not have a permit for the day. Of course, the permits will cost money (so they can pay for another study), and we will have to stand in line to apply for this permit at a government office that has no parking outside its doors or go online to a website that is impossible to navigate. The application will take weeks to process. If you are caught without a permit by a newly appointed official who has been hired just to enforce the new laws of the road, then you will be shot, taken into custody and your vehicle will become a possession of the state. I see no way around this.
We must drink the Kool-Aid and hope for a miracle. The unexplained rule of government is to talk about a problem, put a Band-Aid on it to stop some of the hemorrhaging, all the while making sure the wording is not racist and grandmas will not be thrown off the bus. Maybe that is overstated, but read some of the legislation they come up with, and I get a pass.
Really, boys and girls, put a few hundred billion aside and stack the damn freeway. Put some rail in and operate a government choo-choo that loses money. Dig an underground tunnel from here to there and charge a fee — just no more studies. Do something before everyone in Denver, the Front Range and the DIA crowd decides to stay home. The Colorado resort economies can’t afford to wait another 40 years.
Get it done while it’s already too late.
Greg Ziccardi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.