Publisher’s column: The politics of traffic
First, a brief introduction: This is my first column as Publisher of your Post Independent. From time to time I will pen a column full of opinions about a particular subject that has sparked my interest.
To kick things off, I’d like to dive into two topics that people are highly passionate about: Traffic and politics.
As I was sitting in yet another 90-minute trip to go from my home in New Castle to downtown Glenwood Springs for work on Oct. 26 I began to think about what is causing these challenges on our roadways. I had tried avoiding the inevitable traffic. I waited to leave home until later in the morning, knowing the weekend storm would snarl the roadways. As I watched the news that morning I was amused to hear the myriad political ads all the state and national candidates had purchased. One that really stuck out to me was Gov. Jared Polis telling the viewers that we should support his predecessor, the erstwhile entrepreneur and now career politician John Hickenlooper.
But back to the traffic. It’s important to note that sitting on I-70 has practically become an involuntary hobby. Monday wasn’t the longest I’ve had to wait — those honors go to the five-hour slog in July for the Canyon Creek Fire — but I would imagine I get stuck in traffic jams of various lengths from downtown Glenwood to New Castle at least 2 to 4 times a week.
When I talk with locals about this they often quip “Welcome to the Mountains!” In the spirit of accuracy, I would suggest we change this reply to “Welcome to Colorado!” I’m sad to say it is not just here in Garfield County but all across the state. I moved here from Northern Colorado and let me assure you, the transportation issues there are many. You can read any newspaper around the state and find that they, too, have many problems and few solutions. I spoke to the Governor, who agrees — he asserted politicians on both sides of the aisle haven’t done enough to address our infrastructure problems in the State of Colorado.
We have had 10 years with a Democrat at the top of Colorado leadership and while we now face many challenges — COVID-19, education, mental health and more — it is as obvious as a driver from Texas that transportation is a challenge that hasn’t been addressed well enough. I’ll let you decide if we should continue our path to be a blue state or if maybe being a red state will better equip us to handle these challenges.
The Post Independent is working on some stories to help us all understand the challenges in a more technical manner than I am here. In the meantime, however, I think we can all agree: a solution is needed and our elected officials haven’t done enough.
I’ll close with this. I visited this week with folks from Garfield County and CDOT about the transportation issues on this corridor. The problem as they see it comes down to resources. Until those resources are available, all parties agree that communication and coordination between agencies can be improved so that drivers can get the information they need in order to make the best, safest decision for their travels. Be safe out there.
Bryce Jacobson is publisher of the Post Independent. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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