Atlanta Forward / Another View: Denver region rolls with transit

Like many cities and agencies throughout the country, FasTracks is facing a funding challenge that makes it necessary to ask voters to consider a sales tax increase to complete the entire program within the next decade.

While the board has determined that 2010 is not the right year to ask you, the voters, to consider this additional investment, we remain committed to completing FasTracks as soon as possible.

Does that mean that FasTracks will be put on hold? Absolutely not! While we continue to seek additional funding, we live by the mantra “Build as much as we can, as fast as we can, until it is all done.” In fact, we will have 47 miles of new rail lines in construction or under contract by the end of this year — more than doubling the current amount of rail. The next two years are going to be our busiest to date with construction on five corridors and design under way for the remaining corridors.

It is because of your visionary, regional support that FasTracks was first made possible in 2004. It is that same support that keeps FasTracks moving forward now. And, it is your support and collaboration that will see this visionary project completed.

Here is a snapshot of how regional collaboration has brought FasTracks to this point:

● Support for the 2004 vote from all 31 mayors in the Denver area and the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG).

● Support from chambers of commerce, environmental groups and overall business community.

● Regional task forces to review our plans, including sales tax revenue forecasting, construction inflation and annual oversight by DRCOG.

● Collaboration with the metro mayors’ FasTracks task force, Coalition for Smart Transit, Transit Alliance, the metro chambers, cities, counties, state officials, and many other private groups.

Thanks to you, we have moved far beyond the “Imagine a Great City” mantra of Denver Mayor Federico Pena, to become a great region. FasTracks is moving forward and we will continue working together to turn your vision into a reality for the entire Denver-metro region.

Phillip A. Washington is general manager of Denver’s Regional Transportation District.