HANCOCK: Clinton’s plan for infrastructure will help Colorado thrive


The state of our transportation infrastructure is the number one concern of mayors across the country, and it’s an area that cities and states are increasingly having to take into their own hands because we can no longer sit idle.

Transportation and the connectivity it provides is what keeps cities and states going. This is a critical issue, and one that is reaching a boiling point — our state’s infrastructure desperately needs an upgrade. A recent study estimated that the average Denver-area driver with a 30-minute commute spends an extra 70 hours a year stuck in traffic. These new realities demand new ways of thinking. We know that takes new vision, renewed leadership, and significant investment.

Here in Denver, we’ve stood up our own mobility task force to map out how we can provide the choices that our residents want and need — to fill the gap Congress long failed to fill. And we’re willing to pitch in at the state level: Colorado legislation like the FASTER Act dedicates state resources to improve our roads, repair our bridges, and support and expand transit. That hasn’t been enough, however. Colorado benefits most when we have a strong federal partner.

When Hillary Clinton released her plan for bold and smart federal infrastructure investments, I knew this was just the type of leadership cities like Denver have been calling for from Washington. The people of Colorado deserve a safe and efficient system for moving about their daily lives. Clinton’s announcement last week featured a comprehensive, five-year, $275 billion plan to invest in American infrastructure — and to fuel our competitive edge in today’s global economy. Her plan includes a major direct federal investment in infrastructure, plus a new, national infrastructure bank that will fund projects of regional or national economic importance by leveraging funds from the private sector to make taxpayers’ dollars go further.

That means new grants will be available to help foot the bill for infrastructure projects that not only matter deeply to us in Colorado, but would also contribute significantly to the regional and national economy. I want to see I-25, I-70, and roads and bridges across Colorado being used to their greatest potential. I want Denver and the state to be a magnet for new industries. I want us to keep attracting new businesses and jobs. I want our workers to have a choice in their commute. Right now, though, crumbling infrastructure is holding us back.

But this is just the beginning of how Hillary Clinton’s policies would benefit the people of Denver and continue to strengthen our economy nationwide. This week, she released the first piece of a robust plan to win the global competition for advanced manufacturing jobs: the kinds of jobs, including many in research and development, that would boost the middle-class and spur long-term growth — even here in Denver and Colorado. Moreover, Clinton would invest in developing our skilled workforce: by encouraging bona fide apprenticeships, and by building on models that permit students to use federal student aid for high-quality career and technical training. Every one of these initiatives would benefit the Denver metro area.

Clinton’s solutions-oriented approach stands in stark contrast to those who think the status quo is acceptable. In Clinton, we don’t just have the most serious presidential candidate; we have a leader who will focus on real solutions that will directly benefit the residents of Denver, who will wake up every morning and fight for Denver and cities all across America. And that is reassuring to me as Mayor.