THE EXAMINATION OF
FIVE POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO THE
DENVER METRO AREA TRANSPORTATION PROBLEM
ROBERT A. CLEMENTS
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
MASTERS IN PLANNING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT DENVER
A sincere thanks to Dr. Andre' Kimboko, the first professor and personal friend who helped me to recognize my potential and believe in myself: and to Herb Smith, my advisor, who said some hard things at a time when they needed to be said and which provided me with the basis for self-evaluation and motivation necessary to alter my thinking in order to make my educational experiences meaningful preparation for the real world.
My wife Pam, who has been a true helpmeet, and who has suffered and sacrificed much in order that we might obtain "Our Masters Degree".
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES ............
TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM MANAGEMENT. .
TAXES AND FEES.....................
THE STATE LOTTERY .................
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES
Table 1. METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION SURVEY. ... 4
2. TEN PLACES WITH GREATEST ABSOLUTE AND
PERCENT CHANGE IN POPULATION FROM 1970-1980 ................................. 9
3. POPULATION CHANGE BY COUNTY 1970-1982 10
4. SOLUTIONS-ACCEPTABILITY MATRIX ........... 17
5. MODES OF TRAVEL TO WORK....................35
6. TSM ELEMENT................................48
7. FINANCING OPTIONS ........................ 58
It was Sunday evening. The dinner dishes were done and the leftover roastbeef and potatoes were wrapped and stored in the refrigerator. The family was gathered again in the living room. In quiet anticipation all eyes were glued on the T.V. Suddenly there they were: the Cartwrights riding toward us at full gallop to the jingle of their theme ready for another hour of action packed western adventure. But first a word from their sponsor. "See the U.S.A. in a Chev-ro-let" sang out the new tune as we and the family in the shiny new Chevy were taken from coast-to-coast viewing America's wonders. The "song and the chevy" teamed up during that hour to give us wonderlust as we viewed the Redwood Forest, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, the Mississippi River, the Florida Everglades, and finally Washington D.C., our Nation's Capitol. The year was 1965. Bonanza was the king of T.V. westerns and the automobile was the "king of the road". We paid homage to the "king" by using it to go everywhere and by demanding new roads in order to make life in the suburbs an easy drive from our jobs in the city.
Slowly at first, but then at an ever increasing pace the "king" oversaw a change in the fabric of our land uses. We bulldozed whole neighborhoods or sliced them up as we planted our freeways, our suburban tract homes, and our suburban shopping malls. We bid good ridance to our "outdated" trolleys as their tracks were torn up and turned up our nose at the thought of riding the bus. Problems began to pop up here and there like scattered, dandelions in a lawn but the "king" convinced us that they were someone elses and that they would go away on their own. Seasons came and went and then one day the dandelions were in everyone's lawn. The highways were clogged, the air was dirty, the bus system was inadequate and gas, once plentiful and cheap, was now scarce and expensive. The price of paying homage to the "king" is now biting deeply into our quality of life because of our earlier blindness and neglect.
Several questions can be posed in regard to the Denver Metro Area's transportation problem. The answers constitute the emphasis of this presentation. They are:
1. How can the transportation problem be defined?
2. What caused it to develop?
3. Has there been any planning done towards solving the problem?
4. Is there any one solution that can solve it?
5. What options do we have to solve the problem?
6. Do we need, or will a rapid transit system help solve the problem?
7. Is just building new highways or expanding existing ones a solution?
8. How will the solutions effect us on an individual basis?
9. Who can or should take the leadership role in applying solutions?
10. What will happen to our quality of life if nothing is done?
Just as sacrificing our time and applying the digger and the weed spray can solve our lawn's dandelion problem, so too can they solve our transportation problem. The technology exists and the solutions exist. The question to be answered is how hard each of us as an individual member of society as a whole is
to sacrifice and work in order to the dandelions".
Weeds are one of natures greatest wonders. They seem to appear spontaneously out of nowhere in every available patch of earth. The human tendancy is to acknowledge their presence, but rarely do anything about them while they are still small and not yet deep-rooted. We either seem to cling to a vain hope that by leaving them alone that they will just go away or we just consciously decide that the time it takes to weed doesnt rate a high enough priority among all the other activities that clamor for our attention and participation. We follow this tendancy until the weeds get so big and unsightly that either out of embarrassment or under penalty of the law in extreme cases, we finally take action to remove the weeds. At this point because the weeds are now deep-rooted, the removal effort requires a manifold increase of both our time and efforts. When we are finished and grimy with the sweat of our labors, we usually resolve that we will never
again allow the weeds to get so big before we take action.
In many ways the transportation problem facing the
Denver Metro Area resembles a patch of weeds which we have
ignored until they are now deep-rooted. The voices of
concern and complaint which members of the society are
beginning to express are comparable to the complaints that
city hall gets on the weeds in vacant lots from
A sample of approximately 100 Metro Area residents were surveyed by UCD graduate students on their views on the nature of surface transportation in the Denver Metro Area. The survey was not scientific; the questions were developed quickly and no attempt was made to develop a valid sampling technique. However, the responses are of interest. The questions and the responses are shown in Table 1. The responses to the survey are consistent with the feelings being expressed regularly in the Denver Post editorial section. Scarcely a week goes by without an article appearing that pertains to transportation. A collage of some of these is found in Figure 1. One particular article appearing on January 9, 1984, included
in its entirety here, stated the problem succinctly:
TRANSPORTATION SHOULD BE PRIORITY
"Neither the governor nor the legislature has exhibited the strength to take the lead in quality management of growth-related problems.
Consequently, things like
transporation are fragmented through city and town, county and state jurisdictions. This lack of strong take-charge leadership is currently exhibited on these issues:
lack of adequate highways,
*air pollution as a result of
congestion on highways,
airport growth needs and
maintenance of state and county roads RTD management light rail transportation
Last year The Post reported that an opinion poll listed transporation as the major Front Range issue. This is probably still true for the entire state.
The legislature and governor should put transportation high on their lists of critical issues and priorities for 1984 and the following decade. Without strong leadership in this area, the Front Range will continue to decline as an attractive place to live."
Metropolitan Transportation Survey
1). Is there a transportation problem in the Metro area?
S- (U 2 Yes 9 3%
to c: No 7%
A) If so, what is it?
to a. congestion e. network system (grid pattern
s- CD b. air pollution very bad)
s c. inadequate transit f. land use density
C d. potholes g. parking supply cost
ra h. time spent on trips
B) How does it impact you?
a. no alternative to driving
b. avoidance of the downtown (behavior/access)
d. time/length of commuting
2) How do you get around the region? List the percentage of time you spend by each mode of travel
A) What other modes of travel are available to you if you chose to use them?
a. carpool-3 %
b. transit-7 %
c. bicycle-2 %
d. individual car-78%
e. no other mode
Where percentages are not given in the answers, the responses listed represent the most frequently given answers.
Table 1 (continued)
Metropolitan Transportation Survey
3) What influences your choice of mode of travel: convience, cost, congestion, etc.?
CO a. convience e. proximity
CD b. freedom f. socio-economic make-up of the
to c. availability area
c fC d. time g. safety
Wha t is your solution to the problems you have defined?
a. light rail
b. increased bus service
c. more highways
d. improve attitude (cowboy attitude)
S- e. ridesharing
O) f. location change (work place/living place)
l/> g. flextime
fO h. bicycle access
i. express bus routes/service
j. automible size
k. auto-emissions control enforcement
1. mixed land uses
How should your solutions be financed (who pay, how much)?
to a. Sales tax f. head tax
s- b. gas tax g. federal funds
2 c. user fees h. property taxes parking taxes
to c: d. revenue bonds 1. private sector
03 e. lottery money J. fund-raising
6) Who should be responsible for planning and implementing your solutions?
a. State of Colorado e. forum
b. RTD f. Federal Government
c. Regional Authority g. Private sector
d. DRCOG h. Citizenry
SOURCE: Student survey for Managing Enviromental and Land Use
Conflicts at the Metropolitan and Regional Levels class, University of Colorado at Denver, Hagevik, George, instructor, Feb. 1984.
Starting over: RTD board needs new transit data
ACTION to the 22-month, transit study or-board of directors of xansportation Dis-%s- and almost
c I 2 i
5 /id that
Valley Highway truly a trek to work
for federal funding should Washington somehow loosen its purse strings and it would give the new board an information base in which it can have more faith.
Bill Womack, the RTD board member who sponsored the study resolution, says the main question -vants to address is goal-orient- m transit problem should *o solve0 The 1971 alleviating especially 5 was the most tive. Maybe it omack suggests; on is the worse tring the air may different strate-; the highways, sment is on tar-that transporta-hanged new ttions is prob-addition to the I needs, there are that have been ilv answered: nore people ride low many>^ """ nati'
To The Denver Post
Why do we tolerate the deplorable experience of sitting in traffic on the Valley Highway every morning in an attempt to downtown to work?
specifically of tlv. which l "
If authorities can gettrpi __ remain at 55 mph^^r^Y)
point of slow-f p ^
f0 8e( around
|^ans of tranaoo00,tan area Tr*nsbortafi^at,on W
How to solve rush-hour anger
?*> Th*drW? 8niors aore/v y increased use of concemocj aJ?r are so ay I must disagree
Htti in -pensive, cleaner mem Jy ojution would
3akor in his letter of we ease the
tights go ~
triggered whm. *onf)yOfy ""kw
C. EDWIN BAKER Englewood
be for people to use RTD, carpool. bicycle, etc Highways can only get so big Stop blaming public officials and take a good look in the mirror.
JOE McGLOIN Denver
Recently 50 prominent individuals were interviewed
concerning their views on the transportation situation for
the Metro Area. They defined the transporation problem as
one of mobility.^ Mobility has been defined as the
capability of people and goods to move from point to 2
point. Mobility is a chief element of an area's quality of life because of its effets on growth and economic vitality.
In the 18th century Adam Smith penned this comment in his book The Wealth of Nations. "It is the collective power of a multitude of individual economic decisions that ultimately produces the single final result." The mobility problem stems from our country's deeply held and constitutionally defended concepts of freedom which give the people and their local government the freedom to chart their own course. The uncoordinated development which this sytem encourages has resulted in the suburban sprawl growth pattern which dominates the Denver Metro Area and the American landscape.
The results of the sprawl growth are evident in the numbers of local governments which exist in the SMSA's across the country. A 1974 survey found that the average number was 196; that Chicago was the highest with 1172; and that Denver-Boulder at that time had 277 including
special districts, school districts, etc. Since 1970 the Denver Metro Area has experienced a tremendous amount of growth resulting in a large influx of population. The incoming population made lifestyle choices (Mr. Smith called them "individual economic decisions") which have contributed to the current transporation problem (Mr. Smith's "final result"). These can be illustrated by reviewing the growth facts and figures of the Metro Area. These are found in the Regional Mobility Report 1981-82 prepared by DRCOG. They show for the time period of 1971 to 1979 a 53% increase in total vehicle miles traveled (VMT), a 19% increase in population, and a 23% increase in
auto ownership. A check of the Census data for 1970 vrs 1980 reveals that the increase in population occurred in suburban areas. This is shown in Tables 2 and 3.
Regaining mobility for the Metro Area will require substantial resource allocations and a plan to integrate them within the fiscal contraints of available revenues, whether they are from new or traditional sources. Studies done by DRCOG have found that there is a $1.6 billion shortfall just to fund proposed road and highway projects between 1983 and the year 2000. How this gap can be
closed is the focus of a study recently completed by DRCOG^ and which will be examined in the solutions
section. Any proposed plan should include a wide variety of solutions because just adding additional lanes to existing roads is not always a possible or practical solution by itself. For example, DRCOG estimated that for the year 2000 Interstate Highway 25 between W. Colfax Avenue and Santa Fe Drive would have to be expanded by ten lanes to accommodate the additional traffic at current peak hour loading; eight more lanes would be required on Interstate Highway 25 north of W. Colfax Avenue to the Denver-Boulder Turnpike.^
TEN PLACES WITH GREATEST ABSOLUTE AND PERCENT CHANGE IN POPULATION FRCr! 1970 TO 1980
Rank Absolute Change Percent Change
PI ace Change Place Percent
1 Au ro ra 79,138 Castlewood 539.9
2 Arvada 39,579 Co Iumb i ne 268.6
3 Westm inste r 26,319 Tho rnton 139.6
<4 Thornton 23,196 Broomf ie Id 139.9
5 Lakewood 19,299 Lafayette 126.2
6 Longmont 17,930 Westminster 110.2
7 Co Iumb i ne 17,191 Aurora 99.6
8 SouthgIenn 19,953 Eve rg reen 93.9
9 Castlewood 13,826 Castle Rock 68.7
10 BroomfieId 11,888 Lou i svi1 Ie 89.9
Tota I 257,669
SOURCE: Changes in Local Demographics DRCOG, 1970-1980, June 1983. page 4.
POPULATION CHANGE BY COUNTY 1970-1982
County Final Census April 1, 1970 DRCOG Estimate Jan. 1, 1980 Final Census April 1, 1980 DRCOG Estimates
Jan. 1, 1981 Jan. 1, 1982
Adams 185,789 243,350 245,944 249,150 253,000
Arapahoe 162,142 290,900 293,621 305,750 322,000
Boulder 131,839 187,700 189,625 195,800 201,200
Denver 514,678 494,600 492,365 497,600 497,700
Douglas 8,407 24,800 25,153 27,150 28,950
Jefferson 1 235,368 371,350 371,753 380,150 387,100
Six-County Total 1,238,273 1,612,700 1,618,461 1,656,600 1,689,950
Clear Creek 4,819 7,050 7,308 7,350 7,550
Gilpin 1,272 2,450 2,441 2,550 2,750
Eight-County Total 1,244,364 1,622,200 1,628,210 1,666,500 1,700,250
SOURCE: 1982 Population and Household Estimates for Counties,
Municipalities, Development Areas and Census Tracts, DRCOG, Dec. 1982.
It is important to note that there is a difference between espousing a plan and saying that more planning needs to be done. Bob Farley, Executive Director of DRCOG, put it this way:
"Frustrations have been surfacing for some time now with regard to both highway needs and transit service, and he traffic congestion has done nothing to improve the perception that the surface transportation system in this region is less than adequate. Several state and regional leaders over the past few months have issued a call for more planning and coordination. The problem doesn't happen to be in that area. DRCOG has worked diligently and continously with our partners in the transportation planning process to develop plans not only for thoroughfares and transit, but also for bicylce paths, special services for the elderly and the handicapped, and transportation systems management improvements. But plans, in and of themselves, are useless when not implemented..."
As Mr. Farley indicated, much good planning has been done by DRCOG, RTD, and the Colorado Department of Highways. The governor has even had a hand in planning by commissioning the Metro Citizens Light Rail Study Committee and the Front Range Blue Ribbon Task Force. Despite all this, no one agency or individual has emerged who is willing to take a leadership role and able to use their influence to get implementation decisions made. The
governor is limited because of legislative opposition, DRCOG because it is devoid of implementation powers, RTD and CDOH because they are mature bureaucracies who diligently protect their own turf by stonewalling decisions or by refusing to be a part of a coordinated compromise agreement. Finally, there's the legislature who opposed the creation of a State Department of Transportation because of the fear that urban front range communities would rule the broader powers granted a State DOT at the expense of their rural counterparts. All of this has led to the mounting frustrations expressed in the editorials and in the answers of those who were surveyed. An implementing force needs to be identified in order to prevent today's mobility problem from being the catalyst for worse problems in the future.
In summary, the transportation problem facing the Denver Metro Area can be defined as one of mobility. The result is that people and goods are hindered in their capacity to move from point to point. The sprawl growth development pattern fostered and preserved by our competing local government entities is a contributing factor to the problem by promoting growth and lifestyle choices which have increased both automobile ownership and total vehicle miles traveled. The present system is
plagued with capacity overloads and a $1.6 billion shortfall for future improvements. Finally, despite the fact that much planning has been done, no one agency or individual has been able to lead and coordinate the implementation process into successful application.
The primary purpose of this thesis is to examine five possible solutions to the transportation problem in the Denver Metro Area and give recommendations as to how and why they should be implemented. The solutions to be examined are: Public Education, Private Enterprise, Transportation System Management, Taxes and Fees, and the State Lottery. A secondary purpose is to espouse a change in the land use decisions of tomorrow, in relation to transportation's role, in order to mitigate or prevent today's problems from recurring in the future.
Footnotes Section I
Survey of 50 prominent Metro Area individuals, George Hagevik, Feb. 1984.
^Mobility, 1982, DRCOG, Dec. 1982, page 2.
Urban Life, The Sociology of Cities and Urban
Society;Cousins. Albert N. and Nagpaul, Hans; John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 1979, pages 178,179.
Mobility, page 4.
^Financing Transportation and Capital Projects in the Denver Region, Jan. 1984.
^Metro Citizens' Light Rail Study Committee, An Evaluation of Light Rail and Other Transit Proposals for Metropolitan Denver; Summary and Findings. Feb. 1983, page 3.
In order to make the analysis of the five proposed solutions more measurable and relevant, they will be discussed in terms of a set of seven acceptabiliy factors. To aid in the analysis of each individual solution the acceptabiliy factors are grouped in terms of system effects, fiscal effects, and lifestyle effects that each proposed solution would incur if implemented. The system and fiscal effects acceptabiliy factors represent direct effects to be achieved by a solution; such as increasing mobility or closing the fiscal deficit for capital improvements. The lifestyle effects acceptability factors represent effects on individual members of the Metro Area society that are to be either encouraged or avoided. Examples of these are; distributing costs equitably without creating a new layer of government and, increasing public education and participation wihout taking away each individual's freedom of lifestyle choice. The solutions
and the acceptability factors which they relate to are shown in matrix form in Table 4. The acceptability factors are read in the vertical columns as they apply to each solution. The solutions are read in the horizontal rows as they apply to each acceptability factor. Each circle represents an acceptability factor that applies to a solution. One final note, the solutions are listed top to bottom, in order of rank importance and will be discussed in that same order.
It is important that people, the average person on the street, be better informed both of the depth of the problem facing the area, and the important part that they play as an individual member of society in contributing to the solving of the problem.
What is being espoused here is not just increasing the role of citizen participation in the planning process, but also an effort on the grassroots level to present citizens with all the facts of the problem so that they understand that their "individual economic decision" does indeed make a difference in the "final result".
Public Education # # #
Private Enterprise # # #
Transportation System Management #
Taxes and Fees %
The State Lottery
Total Number of Solutions effected by each Constraint 3 3 4 4 5 5 5
Each circle represents an acceptability factor that applies to a solution
As individual members of a metropolitan society, regardless of what local entity we may live in, we are all united in the everyday experiences of living in an urban dominated world. We each travel from dispersed residences to dispersed work places, shopping services, schools, and recreation areas, without any thought of how many "invisible" political jurisdictional boundaries that we cross and recross. As such, we tend not to gain a view of the structure of our society. Yet, it is that structure which is the force that most influences our lives.
When viewed from the air or from the point of view that a map offers, a metropolitan area appears as a unified organic unit, but in actuality the numerous political units in the area are each pulling in their own separate direction following their own interests and jealously guarding their individual political powers. The result for the individual member of society is an environment that despite its look of unity and organization is not unlike the role of the serf in the fortified and seperate kingdoms of the medieval world. Such a role leads to frustrations and eventually apathy as problems which appear to have simple answers remain unsolved because of the force of the "invisable" underlying structure. John Friedman put it this way:
"America is becoming a non-participant society. Its people have little understanding of their own environment. They are fed ready-made explanations by the media, but none of these seems to account for what is happening. Being so remote from control over events, the non-participant subject finally ceases even to care. The non-participant society is stirred up by its troubles, because they affect the lives of individuals within it. But no one really understands how all this came about. As a result a small but growing segment of the population is beginning to withdraw its allegience from society. To re-establish the essential linkage, society ^eeds a heightened learning capacity."
The effort to heighten society's learning capacity is what kind of public education effort is being espoused here. It must be an effort to help the individual understand the forces that the "invisible" structure places on the metropolitan commmunity.
It must be an effort to get the individual to look beyond their local environment and mere personal troubles and view the metropolitan area in the light of a single community related directly to the values which they individually and collectively as a group hold dear. It must be an effort to get the individual to break through the metropolitan political segregation and develop a sense of belonging to a larger whole in which they can have a
part in developing. Such an effort will restore to individuals the sense of belonging which the "invisible" forces of our segregated structure have tended to destroy. In the words of Daniel Yankelovich:
"The idea of community is precious to people although they often don't know how precious until it is lost; it must come from social arrangements that have endured long enough to enjoy some stability. Although difficult to define abstractly, the idea of community evokes in the individual the feeling that: here is where I belong, these are my people, I care for them, they care for me, I am part of them, I know what they expect from me and I from them, they share my concerns I know this place, I gam on familiar ground, I am at home."
The fundamental basis of the public education effort must be to get individuals to expand their social interaction. This is the point that Roland Warren was making when he said:
"A community is a group of people who know one another well. This means the full pattern of functional social relationships which people may have with one another: nuclear or extended family, neighbors, clubs, churches, schools, business and service relationships. These relationships are developed on a ^ace to face basis in small groups..."
The political party nominating caucauses which start on the grassroots neighborhood level and move up the line from neighborhood to districts, to the state and lastly the national convention, are the crux of the pattern upon which the education effort should be based. The creation and nurturing of numerous compact neighborhood groups in each segregated political unit would represent the bottom level. Each neighborhood group meeting with the groups of a political unit would represent the next level. The top level would be the neighborhood groups of each political unit meeting with all the others of the Metro Area.
The neighborhood groups would provide an information collection and dissemination network and a forum, on each level, for individuals to cope realistically with the transportation problem by clarifying what each political unit perceives as its position in the terminology of the individual members, in relation to that of the other parts of the larger metropolitan community. The networks formed by what could be called a "Metropolitan Neighborhood Coalition", will aid in the discussion and crystalization of a majority opinion that can be funneled undistorted to the decision-making bodies. They would also provide the political means of leveraging those decision-making bodies
This process would result in increased citizen participation in planning. It would make planning's role not just the efficient instrumentation of objectives, but also a process by which the society of the Metro Area may discover its future.^ Quoting again from John Friedman:
To be truly successful, planning must become a way of life, a way of feeling, thinking, and acting on all levels of the social process.... In the broadest sense, a planning community is a community where thought at the level of planning becomes second nature to every member. It remains a pluralistic community in that it allows full freedom of expression and the pursuit of individual goals within the framework permitted by the continuing interest of the whole."
When individuals see that what happens to the metropolitan community has a vital impact on their lives and the values they cherish, then they will commit themselves to the solutions necessary in order to preserve and improve the community. They will also develop a sense of satisfaction from personally contributing and participating in the decision making process.
It is not the purpose of this thesis to present an in-depth discussion of the methodology to be used in establishing the Metropolitan Neighborhood Coalition.
Such a topic could be the basis for a thesis in and of
itself. However, there are a few items which need to be
briefly touched on.
There is a need for the coalition to be politically
sponsored and encouraged in order to survive and grow.
Without political sponsorship the coalition would have a much harder time overcoming the structural barriers of the Metro Area society. There are three possible sources of political sponsorship. They are: the state, the Regional
Council of Governments (DRCOG), and local governments.
Most legislators can recognize the need and the educational potential that the coalition offers. Despite that fact, it is unlikely that a consensus on the idea could be reached due to the existing deep-rooted political ties and philosophies which exist in the legislature. On paper, DRCOG represents an organization equiped with the manpower and expertise to sponsor the coalition. In spite of this, DRCOG is effectively eliminated as a sponsor, because of low opinion and esteem of it which presently exists. Local governments, particularly the
municipalities in the Metro Area represent the best source for political sponsorship of the coalition. They would also reap the most direct benefits from it despite the potential political force which the coalition has. This
is because the forum for discussion, which is at the core of the coalition, could be used for educating citizens by discussing issues of both local and metropolitan concern at the neighborhood level. Municipalities, especially those which have been plagued with numerous referendum petitions on zoning changes, are beginning to see the need for a way to get in touch with their individual citizens. The coalition offers that opportunity.
In addition to political sponsorship, to be successful and effective the coalition would have to have an individual to be its metro-wide director who is both a self-starter and whose enthusiasm compliments his/her skills in working with people. A past president of one of the existing organizations or service clubs would probably make a good candidate for the metro-wide director. Such an individual would be used to working with volunteers and would probably be able to gather the support of existing organizations and service clubs on behalf of the coalition. The coalition will also most likely have to rely on a high degree of volunteerism for boh funding and carrying out the major workload. This is because funding from the other two major sources; government and private sector grants, is unlikely in light of the envisioned
political lobbying efforts that the coalition would be involved in.
An excellent example for the coalition to use in
organizing, encouraging, and fostering neighborhood
participation is the volunteer block captain program used
by ECO-CYCLE in Boulder. ECO-CYCLE is a non-profit
recycling corporation which has achieved tremendous
support and success for recycling from Boulder's citizens.
ECO-CYCLE uses a program of volunteer block captains who
personally visit each member on their assigned block to
explain the program and encourage participation. They
arrived at this approach as a result of behavioral
research done by Dr. Joyce Neilsen of the Institute of
Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado.
The application of ECO-CYCLE's Neighborhood Block Captain program has resulted in both an increased support of their recycling programs and an increased name
recognition for what ECO-CYCLE is and does. A "block captain" program used by the Coalition should achieve the same results especially since the purpose of the coalition is to provide the individual citizen with a means of making their voice heard.
The system effects of the public education strategy should result in both an increase in mobility and a decrease in air pollution. A Metro Area society whose learning capacity has been enhanced will take steps to eliminate unnecessary automobile trips through better personal planning. They will also be more willing to ride-share and use alternate modes of transportation because they won't feel like they are the only ones doing it. The results of these actions will automatically increase mobility and reduce air pollution due to there being fewer autos on the system at any given time resulting in fewer vehicle miles traveled and therefore decreased exhaust emissions.
The fiscal effects of the public education strategy
would be to create a realization of why there is a fiscal
shortfall in meeting the transportation systems needs for
maintenance and improvement for the coming years. The
presentation of the facts of the costs of the system and
the revenues being generated by the methods that are
currently in place would enable individuals to acknowledge
the shortfall and accept the responsibility to support solutions that require them to pay a greater share for the privilege and need of using the system. This acknowledged individual responsibility would also engender support for the necessary increases in taxes and fees and the efforts to distribute the costs equitably among the users through existing governmental layers.
The lifestyle effects of the public education strategy would result in no loss of freedom on the part of the individual to pursue their lifestyle choice by not creating a new layer of government with which they would be answerable. It would also result in a substantial increase in the individual's role in understanding and participating in the planning process by providing them with a forum to express their views and the feeling that their personal experience is civically relevant. It would also provide the individual with the opportunity to expand their social interactions both with their neighbors and other citizens of the larger metropolitan community.
In conclusion, the networks established and the
increased citizen participation fostered and encouraged by the "Metropolitan Neighborhood Coalition," is the key to solving the Denver Metro Areas transportation problem. It provides a two way conduit for information to flow to both the individual on what planning has been done, how various strategies will effect them and their lifestyle, and to the decision-makers on how the individual members of the Metro Area society relate to and support, or disagree with the technical, legal, and financial realities and solutions being presented to them. The end result will be actions which will have a widespread support on an individual basis.
Private Enterprise Overview
The previous section made the point that the key element to solving the Denver Metro Area transportation problem was to enhance the learning capacity of Metro Area residents through a public education program. One of the benefits of the public education effort was that the available solutions to solving the problem would be
presented and discussed. One such solution which has been
the subject of much debate is that of a rapid transit
system. One question frequently asked is; Do we need, or
will a rapid transit system help solve the problem? RTD's
position has been, that they should "develop, maintain,
and operate a mass transportation system for the benefit
of the inhabitants of the district," and that mass
transportation is defined as "...any system... which
transports the general public by bus, air or any other
means of conveyance or any combination thereof..."
Accordingly RTD has continued its rapid transit planning
and engineering efforts as well as the purchasing of
parcels of right-of-way despite the fact that the 1980
ballot referendum which asked the question; Shall RTD be
authorized to levy an additional 1% sales tax to provide
revenue to defray the cost of constructing a fixed
guideway mass transit system?, was defeated. RTD s
rationale for the continued efforts is that the referendum was not a vote on whether they should develop a rapid
transit system, but rather a vote on whether or not the
system should be financed by additional sales tax.
Futhermore they state that "...a plan for public
transportation, including rapid transit,...can and must
change over time. For this reason, no transportation plan
for transit... has been submitted to the voters of the
region."^ To back up their claim that the vote was on a
"financing plan" only, RTD points out that the Colorado
General Assembly revised and amended their original
statute to "provide for a second referendum should the
first not pass. They also point to a survey
commissioned after the 1980 vote which determined that 55%
of the voters favor the conceptual system as it was
presented to them. What RTD fails to mention however, is
the 60% of those same voters distrusted the RTD
. 17 management.
This section is primarily devoted to suggesting that
the best solution to the Denver ! Metro Area obtaining a
rapid transit system, if the need is shown, is by the
private sector building it and operating it. The
principle arguments for taking this position are as
1. The public will not support any sales tax increase to fund a system due to their distrust of the RTD board and management.
On April 15, 1982,
Governor Richard D. Lamm
signed into law Senate Bill No. 132, directing the RTD Board of Directors who were elected in November to schedule a special election, sometime between March 1 and July 1, 1983.18 The election still has not been held because RTD convinced the legislature to pass an amendment to allow them to delay it. The ballot question would have been the same as the one defeated in 1980. The publics reaction to the RTD strike in July 1982 apparently convinced the board that the measure would be defeated again.
The lack of initiative by the current RTD Board during their present two year term combined with the proposal
for another new 22 month study on the light rail issue raise immense doubts about the boards capabilities to ever make a decision on a system and operate it efficiently if it is built.
This is especially true when one considers the familiar complaint that anytime government undertakes to provide a service, no matter how dedicated or idealistic the people involved, the public gets poorer service and inefficiency at a greater cost espcially when the real cost is obscured by tax subsidies. On the other hand the private sector demands efficiency and cost-effectiveness in order
to perpetuate itself.
The underlying philosophical questions
have not and will not be addressed by
RTD in their effort to plan for a
rapid transit system. These questions
include : Who will benefit from the
system? , Who will use it if it's
built? , and, Is there a need for the
system in light of the answers to the
last two questions?
A glance at the data provided by DRCOG indicates that the Central Business District (CBD) would be the undisputed beneficiary of the proposed system. This is especially true in light of the data shown in Table 5. The data shows that for the areawide RTD district, transit usage will increase 10% by the year 2000 while single driver auto usage
However, for the CBD,
transit usage will increase
32% by the year 2000 while
single driver auto usage
will decrease 28%. These
figures are based on DRC0G
predictions if the current
level of highway congestion
during peak hours remains as
is. In terms of
person- trips into the CBD,
this represents a 360%
increase or from 36,000 per day to 130,000 per day.^ Further proof that the CBD would be the principal beneficiary of RTD's proposed system is found in Finding #8 of the Metro Citizens' Light Rail Study Committee which states:
principal problem with the Metro Area mass transit now and in the future is one of moving people into and out of the Central Business District during
The rail is
MODES OF TRAVEL TO WORK
peak hours, present light proposal principally designed to with this problem."
RTD Area Wide Central Business District
1980 2000 1980 2000
Drive alone in automobile 67% 59% 53% 25%
Shared ride in automobile 21% 18% 18% 14%
Transit, walk bicycle, etc. 6% 6% 8% 8%
DRCOG, for Metro Citizens' Light Rail Study Committee, An Evaluation of Light Rail and Other
Transit Proposals for Metrolopolitan Denver: Summary and Findings, Feb. 1983, page 2.
One final philosophical question which RTD will not ask is:
Will a rapid transit system
solve the Denver Metro Area
transportation problem if
that problem is defined as
mobility to go anywhere in
the region not just to the
CBD? The answer to this
question needs to be
reviewed in terms of DRCOG
and CDH data which shows
that only 25% of all Metro
Area auto trips are
generated for work-commute
purposes. The remaining 75%
are for all other
The profit motive incentive of the private sector would insure that these four questions will be answered
because the answers would be the basis for the decisions
as to the design of the system. The private sector, because they would not be relying on government subsidies to remain solvent, could not afford to build a system that doesnt have broad public support. Their system must therefore be designed to benefit the maximum number of Metro Area residents in terms of their using it as an alternative for a significant portion of the 75% of auto trips presently being generated for non work-commute purposes. In answering these questions the private sector may determine that there is no need for a rapid transit system. The questions would be helpful in their analysis by serving as constraints that need to be addressed. One method of encouraging private sector involvement would be to sponsor a contest.
The direct encouragement of private enterprise through
the promise of fame and a large cash prize, has been the
impetus in accomplishing many "impossible tasks" in the
20th Century including the transatlantic solo airplane
flight of Charles Lindbergh and the races to be the first man to set foot upon the North Pole. Entrepreneurs still abound in our society and should be given an opportunity to apply the quantum leaps in technology that have occurred in recent years towards developing a rapid transit system for the Denver Metro Area that would be privately financed and
operated. If nothing else, such a contest would arouse immense public interest and support for a rapid transit system in the Metro Area society that has become tired of hearing that light rail is "the only answer". Such a contest would also give local corporations the opportunity to generate a higher local public image by contributing either money for the cash prize or their personnel and expertise to the contest. It would also heighten Denvers image as a progressive city making the most of its talents and innovativeness to solve a contemporary problem. The judges for the contest could be chosen by the Metropolitan Neighborhood Coalition and could include their members and individuals, with proper credentials, from local corporations.
If in-depth studies by the private sector do determine that a "technological fix" in the form of a rapid transit system is not a solution to the Metro Area transportation problem, private enterprise and entrepreneurs can still provide solutions. Examples of these solutions, some of which exist at present in limited forms are:
1. Subscription Van Service- This type of service would be especially helpful in
shuttling a portion of that increased number of persons into the CBD which DRCOG says will be working there in the years between now and the year 2000. It would work in this manner; individual commutors would pay a flat fee to the company for door-to-door
home to office delivery. In
spirit of free enterprise, the
could either include as amentities or charge below market nominal fees, such as coffee, donuts, and newspapers in the morning commute and snack foods,
beverages and magazines in the evening
commute. Such vans could also be
converted in the daytime hours between
9 a.m. to 3 p ro. and offer the same
service to the elderly, the
handicapped and disabled, and anyone
else who doesnt like to ride the bus
or whose service is not adequate to
meet their individual needs. An
example of this type of service is
already serving the elderly in Denver.
It is called Senior Transportation Co. and for a flat fee, offers a specified number of trips per month and includes in their service courteous and helpful door-to-door pick up and delivery for the elderly to and from any place in the Metro Area.
Odds and Ends Errand Services- this type of company would offer to do your little, sometimes inconvenient errands for you. Included in these services could be: grocery shopping, subscription drug delivery, chauffeur service to medical and business appointments, memo pick up and delivery, and even standing in line to purchase your concert, theatre, movie,
or sporting event tickets. The memo
delivery concept already exists in
Denver and offers point-to- -point pick
up and delivery of memos and other
small items on an on-call basis. This
service offers the advantage of
day" delivery of important memos and documents in the Metro Area without the worry or delay offered by using the postal system. The standing in line concept exists in New York City where personnel from a company will stand in any line anywhere for you; purchase the item, and then deliver it to you for a nominal fee. We may laugh at this concept, but if people will pay maids to do their housework for them, why won't they pay someone to do their inconvenient errands for them?!
In order to get started and to thrive, these type of companies would need 3 main items. They are:
1. Capital Funds- an existing source of funds that could be used, with proper constraints and controls attached, is the sales tax money that RTD has already collected to help fund their proposed rapid transit system. Such
funds could be
qualified applicants by establishing a legal non-profit foundation to review proposals and award the money. Such a system would encourage applicants to submit proposals for funds that would be well thought out and organized in terms of specifics in order to get funding approved. The money could be used to purchase the vans, cars, CB radios, and other items necessary for successful operation, as well as provide operating funds for salaries and other miscellaneous needs. The funds could be awarded with provisions requiring profitability to be achieved within a specified time period or the capital items would revert back to the foundation. Such a system would also provide a return to all Denver Metro Area residents on the money which they provided in the first place rather than just to those who would use or benefit from a light rail system.
2. Government Help and Approval- the main element here is that the legislature would have to pass, and the governor sign into law, a statute that would create the non-profit foundation and allow it to use the sales tax funds which RTD has collected for the purposes mentioned above. While this could be an extremely complex and difficult task, especially in terms of the behind the scenes political maneuvering which Colorado is famous for, if the Metropolitan Neighborhood Coalition were organized and
functioning it could provide a vocal political lever to encourage support for the passage of such a measure. The coalition could also press for each segregated political unit to lessen the legal fees and licensing requirements for the entrepreneural service companies and speed up the processing of their permits.
3. Publicity- since the service companies mentioned will either survive or falter based on the amount of use which they get, it is especially
important that the information about their services and their phone numbers be distributed to each individual
member of the Metro Area society. The perfect mechanism for delivering this information is the Metropolitan Neighborhood Coalition. Another
method for delivering the information
is of course the media. Presentations in this forum could be paid for by the non-profit foundation directly or be included as a part of the grant funds awarded the separate companies.
The system effects of the private enterprise strategy
would be to increase mobility and decrease air pollution by providing the means, either in the form of a rapid transit system or the individual service companies, for individuals in the Metro Area to either be physically transported to scattered locations or to have their scattered errands performed by someone else, collectively. The net results would be to increase mobility and reduce air pollution due to there being fewer vehicles on the system at any one time resulting in fewer vehicle miles traveled, less congestion, and decreased exhaust emissions. This would especially be true if the Metropolitan Neighborhood Coalition was in place and functioning as a provider of information to encourage the use of these alternatives.
The fiscal effects of the private enterprise strategy would be to close the fiscal deficit for the transportation system needs by using private sector funds to create, construct, and operate a rapid transit system. Such a system, if built, would be supported by the metropolitan community because they would have had a hand in choosing it based on what they really want and think is best through their participation in their coalition. The
implementation of the entrepeneural services companies would also close the fiscal deficit by resulting in less use of the system and thereby reducing maintenance and upgrading needs and costs. The service companies would also distribute the funds from the RTD sales tax on a more equitable basis by providing that those funds would be used on an equal opportunity basis for all Metro Area residents not just those who would benefit from the installation of a light rail rapid transit system.
The lifestyle effects of the private enterprise strategy would again result in no loss of freedom on the part of the individual to pursue their chosen lifestyle by not creating a new layer of government and by not forcing them to participate in the services or alternatives offered. It would also result in an increased
participatory role by individuals as they reviewed the various private sector options for a rapid transit system or the services offered by the service companies.
One of the findings of the survey sponsored by RTD referendum election, was the indication
after the 1980
that when the people have a low level of knowledge about
something, their tendancy is to not support it. RTD has shown that they are inept in disseminating both information and understanding about their light rail rapid transit proposal. This is especially true in their refusal to address the underlying philosophical questions in the analysis of their proposed system. The private sector, on the other hand, by virtue of the profit motive incentive would necessarily address those questions in their analysis. Sponsoring a contest for the private sector to come up with rapid transit alternatives would ensure that the public was informed espcially if they were the ones that would be judging the contest. If the private sector analysis proved that a rapid transit system would not be suitable, then the other private sector free enterprise solutions would offer an effective means of solving the transportation problem in a manner that the individual members of the Metro Area society would best benefit and support.
Transportation System Management
One of the items upon which there was consensus among
the 50 prominent Metro Area individuals when they were
interviewed was that Transportation Systems Management
strategies needs to be implemented.
The purpose of the Transportation Systems Management
(TSM) is to use existing systems more effectively by better
managing them. DRCOG has produced an excellent document on
TSM which breaks the elements into area, strategies, and
action/projects. These can be found in Table 6. The area
categories classified by DRCOG include Regional, CBD,
Activity Centers, Corridors, and residential areas. There are common strategies among each area. Several which are prominent are; ridesharing, bicycle facilities,
computerized traffic signal system, and variable workhours. The DRCOG study reviews indepth how each action/project can
be implemented. DRCOG has been active in promoting one
action very strongly; that of its computer matching carpool service to encourage ridesharing. Despite DRCOG's efforts, Denver by comparison with other cities such as Seattle, The San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, is way behindin
utilizing the concept. For example, these cities have created non-profit organizations to promote ridesharing programs to employers and help in the drafting and
Actions and Projects
Areawide RideBharing DRCOG carpool matching services Areawide carpool promotion Vanpool promotion and technical assistance State required incentive programs
Transit system improvements Park-n-Ride Bypass lanes at ramp metered locations Bus pads Modification of curb radii Pulse-point operation Shelters/bike lockers Bus stop signing Training programs Management information systems Service monitoring Model code for transit improvements through land development
Bicycle facilities Regional Bikeway Plan Secure storage lockers at trip generators
Traffic Operations Regional traffic signal control plan Channelization Turn movement prohibition Lane restriping Right turn on red One-way streets and reversible lanes On-street parking restrictions Access control Pedestrian control
Maintenance Resurfacing Signal replacement Street cleaning
Area Strategy Actions and Projects
Central Business District Ridesharing Employer-based address matching and technical support Employer-based promotion and incentives Vanpooling at large firms and on a multi-employer basis
Transit system improvements (express and local) Transitway Mall After rush-hour express service Bus pads Shelters/bike lockers Bus stop signing
Bus priority treatments Transitway Mall
Parking management Parking Management Plan
Auto restricted zones Transitway Mall
Variable Work Hours Provide information to employers on effectiveness and details of alternative programs After ruBh-hour express service
Pedestrian facilities Transitway Mall
Activity Centers Ridesharing Employer-based address matching and technical support Employer-based promotion and incentives Vanpooling at large firms and on a multi-employer basis
Transit system improvements (local) Bus pads Bus pullouts Modification of curb radii Pulse-point operation through Transit Centers Shelters/bike lockers Bus stop signing
Parking management Regional parking management plan
Bus priority treatments
Variable work hours Provide information to employers on effectiveness and details of alternative programs
Pedestrian facilities Sidewalk improvements
Bicycle facilities Regional Bikeway Plan Secure storage facilities
Area Strategy Actions and Projects
Corridors Ridesharing Employer-based address matching and technical support Promotion Park and Pool Lots
Exclusive HOV lanes Santa Fe Joint Development w/HOV lane 1-25 Northern HOV lane
Transit system improvements (express and local) Park-n-Ride lots Local bus service
Bus priority treatments Bus bypasses at freeway ramps Priority freeway access
Bicycle facilities Regional Bikeway Plan
Traffic Operations Freeway ramp metering Spot improvements as per corridor TSM plans. Incident detection Access control
Residential Areas Transit system improvements (local) Modification of curb radii Bus pads Shelters/bike lockers Bus stop signing
Bicycle facilities Regional Bikeway Plan
Pedestrian facilities Additional crossing facilities at throughfares Sidewalks
Traffic operations Demonstration of auto diversion techniques
Parking management Regional Parking Management Plan Limit off-street parking development Reduce on-street parking available to commuters
SOURCE: Managing the Transportation System in the Denver Region,
DRCOG, Aug. 1982. page 6-8.
implementation of parking management ordinances which compliment and encourage ride-sharing. These organizations have also helped get High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes in place on interstate Highways, promoted flex-time and transit usage through reduced fares and help cities get a return on their fleet vehicles by leasing them out for carpooling during the rush hours. Ridesharing's impact is easy to underestimate however, for every 1% of the work force that rideshares, 10,556 cars are kept off the highways.
To be truly effective, as a solution to the Metro Area transportation problem, these TSM strategies in Table 6 need to be implemented in a simultaneously coordinated manner among all the segregated political units and governmental layers that are a part of the metropolitan area.
Each government entity needs to examine closely those strategies and actions which fit its area designation and seek the appropriate funding mechanisms to implement them. DRCOG, as the area's Metropolitan Planning Organization and the areas Regional Council of Governments, should take the lead in educating the various government entities by sponsoring workshops and forums on the strategies and the ways of implementing them. The role of each governmental
entity in implementing TSM strategies as a component part of solving the Metro Area's transportation problem is an individual one. However, coordination is needed between each unit and its neighbor in order to achieve continuity and derive the maximum benefits on an area wide basis.
The Metropolitan Neighborhood Coalition could serve a useful function in regards to TSM strategies by educating the public on the details of the applicable strategies, actions, and projects in terms of the effects on them as individuals for their specific locals and by persuasively encouraging their local elected officials to participate in a simultaneously coordinated implementation effort on a metro wide basis.
The Acceptability Factors
The system effects of the Transportation System
Management strategy would again be to increase mobility and decrease air pollution. The reasons are again the same as those of the previous two strategies; less vehicles on the system equals more mobility and less congestion and exhaust emissions. There are two other
actions which in addition to ridesharing would have the greatest effects if implemented on a metro wide basis. These are; flex-time work hours and a computerized traffic signal system.
The lifestyle effects of the TSM strategy would not create a new layer of government and, despite a change in the working hours or the mode of getting to work for those who participate, would not result in any loss of freedom in the maintenance of individual lifestyle choices. A key to the success of these strategies is the public being fully informed about their effects and being given
sufficient incentives to participate in them.
Despite the excellent planning and documentation of TSM strategies by DRCOG, very little is being done. The Denver Metro Area's existing transportation system would be more efficiently used and increased mobility would result if the strategies identified by DRCOG were implemented on a coordinated simultaneous basis. DRCOG
needs to do more than just provide the information. They should take an active role in sponsoring seminars and
forums to present the information to the elected and planning officials of the entire Metro Area. An employer involvement effort needs to be instituted in order to get the maximum benefits from these strategies.
Taxes and Fees
Chapter 7 of DRCOGs recently published Financing Transportation and Capital Projects in the Denver Region begins by saying:
"There is a substantial gap looming between the transportation capital needs of the growing Denver region and the expected revenue from current sources. Between 1983 and the year 2000, current federal, state, local and private funding sources cannot be counted on to provide much more than half of the $3.2 billion (constant 1983 dollars) of public needs for roads and highway projects, leaving a $1.6 billion shortfall."
Most of the current revenues come from one source; the flat rate tax on gasoline. The increased fuel economy of recent model cars has led to a drop in fuel consumption
in relation to vehicle miles traveled. The net result is
that while the existing transportation system is
experiencing greater demand by virtue of an increasing
population and vehicle ownership, revenues from the gas
tax were remaining constant or were falling especially
when the effects of inflation were added. Because the
demands placed on the system are growing faster than the
available revenues, it becomes imperative that new
resources be identified and utilized. DRCOG has
identified a wide variety of suggested financing options
ranging from traditional sources to new innovative
sources. Every possible revenue source is considered from
sales tax to "sin" taxes on alcohol and tobacco, to the
creation of new taxing entities through the creation of
special improvement districts. These are shown in Table 7.
Common sense would seem to dictate that since the users are causing the pressures on the system, that they would pay more for their right to use the system. The
question that remains to be answered is whether or not the additional payment will be in the form of increased user taxes, such as a higher vehicle registration fees and yearly renewal fees for driver's licenses, or general taxes such as sales taxes, property taxes, or special
improvement districts taxes. For the simplicity of administration, since the process is already in place, it is suggested that vehicle registration fees be raised a specific amount, such as $20.00, across the board and that a $5.00 yearly drivers license renewal fee be included in
the same bill to be paid in order to receive a current
license plate sticker. This will not cover the entire
deficit but it will make up for 1/3 to 1/2 of it. Additional revenues could also be raised by including a $10.00 surcharge for each vehicle in excess of 2 that is registered to the same individual.
This type of user fee may at first glance appear to be regressive in nature since it would theoretically be more difficult for low-income families to pay than those with higher incomes. However, the regressive nature of the tax would be offset for the following reasons:
1. low-income families tend to use older model vehicles whose taxes are already very low and they tend to have only one vehicle per family.
2. it would be a yearly tax thereby affecting low-income families only
>. fuel tax* sales tax* vehicle fee* drivers license fee* truck ton-mile tax* railroad car-mile tax real estate transfer tax
Local-Level (municipalities and counties)
sales tax* property tax* fuel tax vehicle fee employment tax parking fee
real estate transfer tax
hotel occupancy tax
sales tax* fuel tax vehicle fee employment tax payroll tax
income tax tobacco tax liquor tax
oil & mineral revenue severence tax lottery revenue
tobacco tax liquor tax
private developer contribution (negotiated)*
development fee (required)* special assessment districts/
metropolitan improvement districts* tax increment financing
real estate transfer tax
hotel occupancy tax
Highway and Transit Corridor Options (state/local/regional)
private developer contribution (negotiated, highways only)*
development fee on abutting property (required)
corridor-wide special assessment district
tax increment financing
joint development (air/ground rights)
tolls (highway only)
credit pool/bond bank infrastructure loan bank
state revenue sharing from general funds (distribution to local governments)
* Currently providing funding for transportation capital projects in the Denver Region
SOURCE: DRCOG Financing Transportation and Capital Projects in the Denver Region, Aug. 1982 page 30.
once a year where as an increase sales tax or gas tax would affect them year round.
3. moderate and high-income families tend
to have more than one vehicle per
family, therefore, they place a
greater burden on the system per
family by using two or more vehicles. This type of user fee would, therefore, more equitably return that greater burden to those who are generating it.
4. the population growth is occurring in the suburban areas of the region where automobile transportation is the principle mode of travel. Moderate and higher-income families are found in greater abundance in the suburbs, therefore, they are generating more annual vehicle miles of use on the system than the lower-income families
who tend to cluster closer to downtown
Denver and whose annual vehicle miles are therefore less. This type of user fee therefore also more equitably returns the system burden, in terms of vehicle miles traveled, to the
moderate-to-higher income families who are generating it.
5. if the public education measures
suggested earlier were in place, the
Metropolitan Neighborhood Coalition would be able to clearly demonstrate the above facts to the entire Metro Area society. This effort should result in public acceptance of the proposed fees especially since it
would demonstrate that those who are
generating a greater share of the
costs burden on the system are the
same ones who would be paying a
correspondingly greater portion for the right to use the system.
It also makes sense that since much of the future
regional road capital needs will be to meet the demands of
growth and development, that the developers should pay an
equitable share of those capital needs. This is
especially true in light of the fact that over the years
developers have reaped outrageous profits from increased
property values as a result of the increased access
provided their property by road improvements without
returning any of those profits to the public who paid for
their property's greater access. Development fees and
exactions can be applied on a uniform basis to all
developments regardless of their size or location. The
cities of Castle Rock, Louisville, Lafayette, and Parker
currently have ordinances requiring developers to pay
"development fees" to defray the costs of current or
future roadway improvements in the area.
There are two major limitations to the use of development fees; one is that they can discourage development in a jurisdiction if they are too high and the other one is, that increased costs resulting from the required development fee will be passed on to the
consumer. In either case growth could be hampered. It is recommended that each governmental entity in the region add development fee ordinances to their codes. It is also
recommended that each ordinance be the same or similar to
all the others in order to prevent one jurisdiction from having an advantage over the others in regard to the fees charged and requirements mandated. Because it is not the nature of local government units to voluntarily work together cooperatively, especially on a measure such as this that may in their eyes adversely affect their growth rate, legislative intervention and mandate may be the only means of achieving the desire uniformity of ordinances. Passage of a state law mandating uniform development fees should conceivably receive broad support in the legislature since it would also benefit rural communities who are suffering from capital expenditure deficits due to development pressures from a variety of growth induced factors.
A second reason for suggesting uniform ordinances and fees would be that it would enable a more accurate accounting and prediction of fees as applied to the $2.6 billion deficit. This type of fee should also be able to raise revenues sufficient to meet another 1/3 to 1/2 of the deficit.
The simultaneous implementation of TSM strategies should be able to close the remaining portion of the deficit. This would especially be true if the
public education effort has succeeded in getting individuals to use better planning in the use of their automobiles.
The Acceptability Factors
The fiscal effects of the taxes and fees strategy would both close the fiscal deficit for necessary system needs in the years between now and the year 2000, and distribute the costs of those system needs equitably among the generators of those needs. This would be accomplished by the higher user tax on vehicles and by developers paying for the increased access which their developments require through development fees and exactions.
The lifestyle effects of the proposed taxes and fees strategy would place the least amount of burden on Metro Area residents. This is because they would still have the freedom to maintain their lifestyle choice in chosing where to live and how many vehicles they wanted to own, and also because no new layer or organization within the
government would be created in order to proposed taxes and fees. administer the
Conclusion The increased user fees should receive the support of
the individual member of the Metro Area society because
user taxes tend to be reviewed as more equitable than
general purpose taxes. This is especially true when it
could be shown that the generators of the increased
burdens on the system would be paying a correspondingly
greater share of the taxes and fees. The regressive
nature of the across the board raises in yearly vehicle
registration fees is reduced significantly when the fees
are viewed in terms of the vehicle miles traveled and the number of vehicles owned per family. The Metropolitan Neighborhood Coalition, successfully in place, would serve as a means of showing to the individual member of the Metro Area society the fiscal and lifestyle effects of this strategy.
The State Lottery Overview
There has been a lot written in argument about the pros and cons of having the Colorado State Lottery. Many of these arguments center around the morality issue about the state sponsoring gambling in any form. The fact that the use of lottery funds represents a fiscal solution to solving the Metro Area's transportation problem should not be viewed in terms of the moral arguments for or against having the lottery, even though some individuals may use it in that form. This solution is proposed because the funds are there and the use of them places no tax burden on society since the funds are the result of the free voluntary choice of individuals.
The funds from the lottery are classified as non-user
revenues. The lottery funds represent a voluntary
participation source of revenue because they are not a tax
or a fee. Currently the funds are earmarked for state building construction, and parks and open space
conservation and development. Although it would require a change in the law by the Colorado Legislature to include funds for transportation projects, this doesn't represent
a barrier if the education process talked about earlier succeeeds in heightening the learning capacity of society through greater understanding and participation. Since local jurisdictions are free to determine how they will use the funds allotted them, it seems reasonable that the Metro Area and the total state society would be capable and willing to raise its voice in a concerted effort to get the law changed if such an effort resulted in less money having to be paid by them directly out-of-pocket and in turn benefited them where they live. It is suggested that one lottery game per year be mandated for transportation improvements. Such a change would also benefit rural residents of the state since many county road systems also suffer from an inadequate funding base upon which to undertake maintenance and/or imrpovement projects.
The Acceptability Factors
The fiscal effects of the lottery strategy would help close the fiscal deficit gap of local governments transportation systems future needs and distribute the
revenues produced equitably not just in the Metro Area butalso statewide to the locales where they were generated.
The lifestyle effects of the lottery solution would be non-existant in terms of loss of freedom of choice. Because the lottery system is already in place, there would also be no new governmental effects in terms of taxes or taxing entities. There would be some lifestyle effects in terms of required increased role of public participation necessary to convince the legislature to change the law to allow the funds from one game per year to go to transportation. However, these effects would be minimized if the Metropolitan Neighborhood Coalition was successful in raising the level of understanding among the individual members of the Metro Area society to the level where it would take a large number of people a little amount of time to make their voice heard instead of a few people a large amount of time to achieve the same result.
The use of lottery funds should not be used in light of any moral arguments for or against having the lottery.
Instead, the use of lottery funds should be justified because the funds are there and there are more fiscal needs, such as those represented by the fiscal deficit in meeting transportation needs, which can be met by using the funds for other purposes rather than parks and recreation needs. The individual members of the Metro Area society would be willing to take the time to get the law changed if the espoused public education system is in effect and operating.
Summary of the Solutions
The five proposed solutions to solving the Denver Metro Area's transportation problem are shown in Table 4 together with the acceptability factors used in analyzing their effectiveness. The acceptability factors represent either direct or indirect effects to be overcome, encouraged, or avoided by the proposed solutions in order to solve the transportation problem. The solutions are listed in their rank order of importance.
The public education solution, with its Metropolitan Neighborhood Coalition, is the key to solving the transportation problem. It provides a two way conduit for information to flow to the individuals and to the
decision-makers and helps them both, collectively and
individually, to acknowledge and accept their responsibilities in the implementation of the other four solutions.
The private enterprise solution would address and answer the underlying philosophical questions about a rapid transit system that the RTD approach does not address. It would also provide for alternate, but effective, approach that could be used if it was shown that a rapid transit system would not be a suitable method to be pursued.
The Transportation System Management (TSM) solution would increse the mobility of the transportation system in the Metro Area if the full range of available options were simultaneously implemented by each political unit and government layer in the Metro Area. DRCOG has done an excellent job of documenting the full range of available strategies; these are shown in Table 6, but needs to take a more active role in educating decision makers, the employers, and the public about the benefits that can be derived from using TSM strategies.
The Taxes and Fees solution would raise revenues to meet the $1.6 billion deficit in future capital needs for the Metro Area transportation system through increased vehicle user fees and through development fees. These
fees would distribute the costs of the future system needs equitably among the major generators of the the needs and should raise revenues sufficient to meet a minimum of 2/3 of the capital needs shortfall.
The lottery funds solution is proposed because the funds are there and the use of them places no new tax burden on society. The lottery funds represent a voluntary participation source of funds which can meet other fiscal needs besides those which they are currently limited to if the legislature will amend the law to allow it. It is suggested that one lottery game per year be mandated for transportation improvements. The use of lottery fees would benefit rural and Metro Area residents in closing the fiscal gap of local governments transportation systems future needs and do it in an equitable manner by distributing revenues to the locales where they were generated.
I began this paper by stating that both the technology and the solutions to the Denver Metro Areas transportation problem existed. In my opinion, the reason these solutions have not be implemented is because of the underlying structure of our society. This structure, which looks unified but in reality is disjointed, has developed through the cherished doctrine that freedom of
self-rule is best maintained through small local government units.
In isolated settings the system of local self-rule works very well. But, in a metropolitan setting with each separate political unit guarding its powers and seeking its own best interest, problems arise. The problems are inevitably caused by a conflict of interests between the separate political units and work against the health and well-being of the metropolitan society as a whole.
While I am a firm believer in the freedoms and institutions of our country, including self-rule through local government, I am also a firm believer that the time has now come for joint cooperation among those separate political units in order to solve problems which transcend their individual boundaries because of metropolitan causes and effects. Without cooperation the problems, such as the transportation problem of mobility, will continue to grow worse to the ultimate detriment of each individual regardless of the political locale which they live.
What I recommend, and have endeavored to show, is that the Metropolitan Neighborhood Coalition can be an effective means of overcoming the structural impediment of the metropolitan society by its being the tool to develop cooperation in applying solutions on a metro-wide basis.
That this process will not be an easy one, I also pointed out at the start of this paper by stating that the question to be answered was how hard each of us as an individual member of society as a whole is willing to sacrifice and work in order to get the existing technology and solutions implemented.
The Metropolitan Neighborhood Coalition offers a framework for the individual members of society to work through to get their separate political units to cooperate together. In my opinion it is a workable idea whose time has come. I strongly urge that those who have the necessary skills and the political means, such as community leaders, planners, non-profit organizations and service clubs, work together to bring this idea into fruitation so that the Denver Metro Areas transportation problem, and other metro-wide problems, can indeed be solved cooperatively through the raised voice of the people and thereby preserve our quality of life.
Footnotes Section II
^Retracking America, John Friedman. Page 192
Q Yankelovich, Daniel, York, NY. 1981, page New 248. Rules. Bantum Books, Inc. , New
9 Warren, Roland L., "The Good Community-What Would It
Be?" Journal of the Community Development Society, Vol. I., No. 1., Spring 1970, p. 14-23.
^Friedman, page 4.
^Friedman, page 7.
12EC0-TIMES. Sept. 1983, page 8.
Transit for the Denver Region Evolution and Rationale, DRCOG, Oct. 1982, pages 1-3.
*Post Election Survey of the Light Rail Question in the Metro Denver Area, Prepared for William Kostka & Associates by Hamilton & Staff, Washington, D.C. -Nov. 1980.
Metro Citizens' Light Rail Study, Summary, Page 7.
Metro Citizens Light Rail Study, Summary, pages 2 and 7.
Development of a Periodic Control Strategy for Mobile Sources in the Denver Metro Area, Hagevik, George and Grady, Anne, March 1984.
2^4 Post Election Survey, Hamilton and Staff, Nov. 1980. survey of 50 Prominent Metro Area individuals, George Hagevik, Feb. 1984.
Managing the Transportation System in the Denver Region, DRCOG, Aug. 1982.
Videotape of Ridesharing Seminar, 1983 American Planning Association Conference, Seattle, Washington.
Denver Region, Jan. 1984, 27
Financing Transportation, 29
and Capital Projects page 49.
DRCOG, pages 29-46. DRCOG, page 36.
DRCOG, page 34.
SECTION THREE EPILOGUE:
To the Citizens of the Denver Metro Area Society
Shaping the Growth of Your Future The role of the Denver Metro Area transportation system in the past 25 years has been one of providing access without accountability. The result has been piecemeal development that was not only scattered but also uncoordinated, by the developers whose primary interest was not in how their development "fit" with all the others that were occurring nearby, but rather on choosing the right spot where "perfect access" would turn a modest investment into a fortune. No thoughts were ever given, nor were developments build accordingly, to the region as a whole and to how the scattered pieces add up to a whole. The Metro Area society can no longer afford to let development take its own course. The solutions proposed offer a hope; a framework for overcoming the oversights of the past by you the Metro Area society viewing your problems as a whole to achieve unit of purpose when unity of government is an unrealistic, impossible and probably undesirable possibility. There has been, is, and will always be strength in public opinion to secure change and
improvement. The Neighborhood Coalition, in place and functioning as a forum for citizen-to-citizen education, encouragement, and involvement, can be a means of giving you, the citizens, the opportunity to guide your decision-makers individually in their separate political units, and collectively as a whole in helping to shape an even larger Metro Area society that will continue to grow. The coalition offers you the citizen an opportunity to be a vocal force in shaping the structure of your future society and bring those who in the past have failed to consider properly and wholely the human landscape in which you must live, into accountability to do development differently. You, the individual of the Metro Area society, need to remember the old adage, "United we stand, divided we fall", and accordingly work together to achieve your vision of the future.
BIBLIOGRAPHY PRINTED MATERIALS
Development of a Periodic Control Strategy for Mobile Souces in The Denver Metro Area, Haegevik, George and Grady, Anne, March 1984.
Changes in Local Demographics 1970-80, June
Financing Transportation and Capital Projects in the Denver Region, Jan. 1984.
Managing the Transporation System in the Denver Region, August 1982.
Mobility, 1982 Dec. 1982
1982 Population and Household Estimates for Counties, Municipalities, Development Areas and Census Tracts, Dec. 1982
Rapid Transit for the Denver Region Evolution and Rationale, DRCOG, October 1982.
Metro Citizenss Light Rail Study Committee, An Evaluation of Light Rail and Other Transit
Proposals for Metropolitan Denver: Summary and
Findings, Feb. 1983
Retracking America. Friedman, John, 1980.
Urban Life, The Sociology of Cities and Urban Society; Cousins, Albert N., Nagpaul, Hans, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 1979.
Warren, Roland L., "The Good Community-What
Would it Be?" Journal of the Community
Development Society, Vol. I., No.l, Spring,
Yankelovich, Daniel, New Rules. Bantum Books, Inc., New York, N.Y. 1981.
II. OTHER SOURCES
Adopt-a-Block Join the Team, ECO-TIMES, SEPT. 1983, Published quarterly by ECO-CYCLE, 1(8):8.
Student Class Survey, University of Colorado at Denver, Hagevik, George, instructor, Feb. 1984.
Survey of 50 Prominent Metro Area Individuals, Hagevik, George, Feb. 1984.
A Post Election Survey of the Light Rail Question in the Metro Denver Area Prepared for William Kostka & Associates by Hamilton & Staff, Washington, D.C. -Nov., 1980.
Videotape of Ridesharing Seminar, 1983 American Planning Association Conference, Seattle, Washington.