Romer: Look around for a new solution
A friend of mine recently shared a story that resonated with me.
“I found a dead fly on the windowsill today. I remember yesterday he was buzzing all day long and banging over and over into that window. I realized this morning all he wanted was to get outside … and he could see it through the window. The problem he had … like so many of us … is that he was SO FOCUSED on what he WANTED that he couldn’t step back far enough to figure out how to GET it. Another window was wide open just 5 feet away.”
Many — in fact, most — of us are focused on what we want and how to get it. And it’s good to be focused. Focus provides us a good barometer of accomplishments and a roadmap to getting things done.
But a singular focus can have a downside, as we saw with the fly. The lesson of the story with the fly is that we need to look at things differently and see different solutions. We need to look around and take the time to understand various viewpoints to avoid the same fate as the fly.
This resonates right now when it comes to big state issues such as transportation funding for our infrastructure. Our neglect in funding Colorado’s infrastructure becomes more apparent every time you have to drive the I-70 corridor to Denver, or within the Denver metro area, or along the Western Slope.
Colorado has grown exponentially, but funding from the legislature and the federal government to handle the accompanying traffic has been inadequate (and that’s being generous). That’s something Coloradans know to be true simply based on personal experience. Recently, an official report verified it. The Colorado Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers report shows there is much room for improvement.
The organization gave 14 categories of infrastructure in Colorado an overall grade of ‘C-’ — below average. The summary rightfully points out that infrastructure spending serves a greater purpose of ensuring we have things like safe roads to access our great outdoors, state of the art schools to educate our children, and transmission lines to access cleaner, renewable sources of energy. With the recent defeat of Prop CC, the Colorado Infrastructure Report Card serves as a timely talking point for Colorado policy makers and voters.
Vail Valley Partnership is part of Fix Colorado Roads, a statewide coalition advocating for increased focus on our transportation infrastructure. With transportation as a key focus for the 72nd General Assembly, Fix Colorado Roads supports a legislative package that includes new and equitable funding sources — not only from those driving gas-fueled vehicles, but also electrical vehicles; and continuing general fund funding and future bonding.
Infrastructure improvement is needed to help combat congestion in the I-70 corridor which infuriates travelers, harms local communities and small businesses, impacts our tourism economy, creates safety risks, wastes fuel and hampers intrastate and interstate commerce. We recognize the same situation impacts communities around the state and support efforts to address our state transportation infrastructure system to benefit all four corners of Colorado.
Much like the fly banging against the window, we need to step back and look at different solutions to our transportation funding challenges. A path forward exists to address Colorado’s transportation needs, but it will take the work of legislators from both sides to develop smart, innovative transportation funding for Colorado. It is incumbent to develop meaningful transportation funding to provide for the future of economic growth and success for the entire state.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at www.vailvalleypartnership.com.