Traffic congestion is already negatively impacting Denver’s economy and quality of life and the 2035 Metro Vision Regional Transportation Plan admits that, despite its $133 billion price tag, congestion will only get worse if the plan is implemented.
A detailed new Reason Foundation plan shows how Denver can cut the long-range plan’s costs from $133 billion to $52 billion while focusing on reducing the bottlenecks and traffic jams that plague the region. By focusing on improving mobility Reason’s plan would save Denver commuters $27.6 billion worth of time that would otherwise be wasted sitting in traffic jams over 20 years.
The Reason Foundation proposal calls for $22 billion in highway additions-including $11 billion in new toll lanes; $15 billion to widen arterial roads and build new interchanges at busy intersections; and $15 billion to expand bus services.
“Adding a connected network of toll lanes will improve mobility throughout the region, create numerous new transit options and provide sustainable funding sources for Denver’s long-term infrastructure needs,” said Baruch Feigenbaum, transportation policy analyst at Reason Foundation and author of the plan. “The toll lanes would make up a comprehensive system of express toll lanes to guarantee reliable, uncongested travel for buses, emergency vehicles, vanpools, carpools, and single-occupant drivers who pay the tolls. Furthermore, over 60 percent of the construction costs of the toll lanes network could be financed by toll revenue.”
Reason Foundation proposes a new express lane network that would add toll lanes to portions of I-25, I-70, I-76, I-225, I-270, US 6, US 36 and C-470. It would also build a new toll road to complete the beltway. Drivers would pay an average toll rate of $0.24 per mile on the express lanes, which would guarantee a trip in free-flowing lanes moving at the speed limit.
“Freeways are just one part of the equation though,” Feigenbaum added. “Jammed intersections and arterial roads can severely slow commutes and are a vital part of speeding up movement across the region.”
The Reason plan calls for widening more than 40 arterial roads, including adding more than 40 lane miles to SR 93, 26 lane miles to Wadsworth Blvd., and 40 lane miles to Baseline Road.
The Reason Foundation also recommends building more than 100 at-grade interchanges, which would allow drivers and buses to bypass busy intersections at places like Titan Road at Monarch Blvd., US 40 at Colorado Blvd., and SR 93 at SR 58.
The complete plan, Reducing Congestion in Denver: A New Approach to Increasing Mobility, is online at: https://reason.org/studies/show/reducing-congestion-in-denver
About Reason Foundation
Reason Foundation is a nonprofit think tank dedicated to advancing free minds and free markets. Reason Foundation produces respected public policy research on a variety of issues and publishes the critically acclaimed Reason magazine and its website www.reason.com. For more information please visit www.reason.org.
Baruch Feigenbaum, Transportation Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation, (404) 218-6301
Kristen Kelley, Communications Specialist, Reason Foundation, (443) 722-5592