Will John Hickenlooper Answer Tough Questions on FasTracks Fabrication?

The Antiplanner blog -- experts on all things related to transportation -- has posted a question (several, really) for Democrat gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper to answer:Based on what we know today, including 40 percent cost overruns, revenue shortfalls, and the trivial amount of congestion relief that FasTracks is expected to provide, would you still have endorsed the 2004 FasTracks ballot measure? If so, then what are you going to do to make sure you are not again hoodwinked by bureaucrats who want to spend more tax dollars on future megaprojects? And if not, then who will you really represent: the voters, or the bureaucracies and special interest groups that want to take as much money as possible from those voters? Even nice … [Read more...]

Poor Timing of FasTracks Tax Announcement Only Tip of Iceberg

It's kind of surreal to find these two headlines in the same edition of the Denver Post: Colo. jobless at 21-year high: "The unemployment rate hasn't been this high since April 1988, when it was at 6.7 percent. It is also higher than the 6.3 percent rate reached during the depths of the dot-com bust from 2001 to 2003." Doubling FasTracks sales tax gets nod: "On Wednesday, a majority of the Metro Mayors Caucus tentatively approved a plan to salvage FasTracks by asking voters for another 0.4 percent sales tax. The mayors, hoping to see the entire $6.9 billion expansion finished by 2017, are gambling that voters will maintain support for the project despite higher costs and some of the weakest economic conditions in the past … [Read more...]

Residents in Wake of Latest RTD Expansion, See Property Rights Project

Denver's Regional Transportation District (RTD) says it needs to condemn 56 properties in northeast Denver for light-rail expansion. Maybe we can hope RTD has learned some lessons from arousing the ire of property owners on the west side of Denver. The stories of Daniel Gallegos, Kim Snyder, Galen Foster, and others should be instructive. But don't hold your breath. Residents who may be affected by RTD's latest expansion should empower themselves by checking out the resources provided by the Independence Institute's Property Rights Project. … [Read more...]

$7.9 Billion: RTD FasTracks Now Nearly 70 Percent Over Original Cost

The Denver Post reports today that the price tag for Regional Transportation District (RTD)'s taxpayer-funded FasTracks plan has jumped again:The price of the FasTracks rail expansion — if it is to be completed by 2017, as promised to voters — has jumped from $6.1 billion to $7.9 billion, according to officials familiar with RTD's latest analysis of the program. Approved by voters in 2004 for $4.7 billion, estimates later rose to $6.1 billion - a 30 percent increase. Now they have skyrocketed to $7.9 billion, nearly 70 percent higher than original estimates. According to the Post, RTD either has to narrow the scope of the project, delay its implementation, or ask for more tax money:Centennial Mayor Randy Pye, who heads the 37-member … [Read more...]