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Denver conference will showcase transportation success – but will others be allowed to emulate it?

11 Feb 2014 | Posted by | 0 Comments | ,

Almost 1,000 people heading to Denver, Colorado this week for the annual New Partners for Smart Growth conference will get to see up close what we recently called “a bold bet on an ambitious and comprehensive plan to expand their transportation network a decade ago” in our profile of Denver’s transportation success.

Denver New Partners

In between sessions and during the countless tours and mobile workshops — and thanks to free (!!) Regional Transit District passes — the attendees will get to taste the fruits of the region’s ambitious and decades-in-the-making transportation investments all around them:  Brand new light rail lines with more on the way, a gorgeous old train station being restored to a downtown civic and transportation hub, commuter railroads, and neighborhood investment all around.

Denver’s is a compelling story of a modern western city that realized, despite their success, they couldn’t rest on past accomplishments. To succeed economically for decades to come, they needed a bold plan for a regional transportation network. We profiled it recently in one of our inspiring stories of local success and innovation

So how is Denver making all this happen? First and foremost, through a lot of civic moxie.  But the region also has depended on federal contributions.

If Congress drops the ball on rescuing the nation’s transportation fund from certain bankruptcy in 2014, stories like Denver’s will be relegated to the history books as similar plans gather dust on the shelf. Read more about our plan to save the nation’s transportation fund.

This is critical to for our economic success, as Denver’s leaders make crystal clear in our profile

Denver: Betting on the future and seeing early returns

Tom Clark can cite the exact moment in 1997 when metro Denver’s economic leaders became convinced that a more comprehensive rail and bus network was critical to the region’s prosperity. They were talking to executives at Level 3 Communications about a potential relocation, but their prospects were balking. They were afraid that without transit, Denver’s potential workforce was effectively cut in half because of congestion on I-70, the main east-west interstate artery.

“They were the catalytic piece of us deciding that we really had to get serious and get transit back on the ballot again,” said Clark, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation. “It was one of those a-ha moments in your life where you just go ‘Wow, this has real economic implications.’” …

Read the full profile from T4America

Denver Flickr photo by vxla httpwww.flickr.com/photos/vxla/2850571117

Denver Flickr photo by vxla httpwww.flickr.com/photos/vxla/2850571117

We’ve heard from local elected officials, business leaders and citizens from around the country who think that Denver’s transportation tale is one worth emulating — the blueprint for a winning effort to invest in new transportation options to keep a good economy prospering into the future.

It’s the kind of local innovation and big thinking that Congress should be working hard to support.

As this conference shines a spotlight on Denver (are you attending?), help us spread the word about this inspiring story and pass it along, or post to your social networks.

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