Colorado Hyperloop: Legislative Loop

Colorado Hyperloop and the Colorado State Capital in Denver

 

Today is Election Day 2017, with various Colorado ballot measures and races, we thought it fitting to start keeping everyone in the Colorado Hyperloop: Legislative Loop.
Colorado Hyperloop is tracking current and future elected representatives who support, and those that do not, a future Colorado Hyperloop. Below is a brief outline as we start reaching out to these people as citizen lobbyists.

… government of the people, by the people, for the people…

-Abraham Lincoln

Mission:

Get in touch with people running for elected office in Colorado and ask them what they think of very fast hyperloop transportation system along with a North-South alignment from Fort Collins to Pueblo connecting all major cities and airports along the corridor.

The Problem:

The population boom along the front range overloads current transportation systems. Elected officials might not have heard about Hyperloop technology, so we want to inform them and ask them what they think of this solution. If the person running for office doesn’t like Hyperloop, we will ask them what they might suggest as an alternative and how infrastructure might look like to them in Colorado in the year 2040.

Summary Timeline:

The Colorado Gubernatorial Election is on November 6, 2018. In this month of November 2017, we will be contacting all candidates and will publish their responses at the end of the month.

Thank You:

Politics, like anything else in life, ultimately comes down to people.

Take Back Your Government – Morgan Carroll

Colorado Hyperloop wants to thank all the candidates running for office for being willing to work hard for us. We also want to build a rapport and relationship between future needs, suggestions, and input on how the Colorado Hyperloop can help all Colorado.

If you have any questions or would like to help out, please contact us.

New President, New Hyperloop

No more Front Range Smog...

Without getting too political, The New York Times has an article how the Trump Administration could set goals for massive infrastructure projects.  In Trump-Size Idea for a New President: Build Something Inspiring, we read that Colorado is mentioned for one such project:

Denver I-70 east: Denver is trying to put a section of Interstate 70 underground to reconnect the city’s urban fabric and use four acres of the reclaimed space for parks, bike paths and walks, and farmers’ markets. The green space could be much larger, further reducing pollution. Cost: $1.17 billion.

I would like to point out that the Hyperloop is probably the cleanest and fastest transit option ever… but it would not necessary be on I-70 axis, more of a I-25 North-South corridor. But imagine less noise and pollution more Parks and GreenWays along I-25!

For investing improvements for I-70 and I-25,  CDOT needs to balance projected growth along these corridors and balance political views between rural and urban areas (read economic):

Cities are trending Democratic and are on an upward economic shift, with growing populations and rising property values. Rural areas are increasingly Republican, steadily shedding population for decades, and as commodity and energy prices drop, increasingly suffering economically.

The political divide goes even deeper than simply between the two parties.

“The urban-rural split this year is larger than anything we’ve ever seen,” said Scott Reed, a political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who has advised previous GOP campaigns.

Will people in rural areas feel that a city connecting hyperloop will benefit them? What kind of support will these groups give to a new infrastructure that includes city centric hyperloops?

Conversely, will city based advocates against costly highway lanes, but for pedestrian friendly cities support the hyperloop?

Also, to note is the role of national infrastructure advocacy groups. They will try and shape urban and rural transit policy. Yet these too are sometimes split in supporting new infrastructure goals for a new administration.

Finally, there would be those that would point to bolstering already present infrastructure and private  company services like Greyhound busses, espically within Colorado. 

So it is up to CDOT to plan on how to work with a new Federal priority list. But there is already chatter, and outright public backing of a certain hyperloop company, as well as in the greater Hyperloop community that a Trump administration might be pro-hyperloop.

Hickenlooper Focuses on Issues of Rural Colorado, Transportation in State of the State

Priorities of the Governor of Colorado, Transportation

Governor Hickenlooper’s State of the State address, the medusa like TABOR continues to drag any new Colorado initiatives to a legislative thrashing of poisonous paralysis. Even without TABOR, everyone, including the Governor is worried about traffic congestion, specifically I-25 and I-70:

Add to the equation 2 million more residents projected to join us over the next 20 years, and we’ve got a math problem.  Our population grew by over 100,000 last year alone, so we need to invest now to ease congestion and mobility for today and tomorrow.   

We have transportation issues up and down I-25, along I-70 and other high-volume traffic corridors throughout the state.  

If we’re going to get these projects done, we must find new funding sources and leverage partnerships to pay for them.

Perfect timing for a Colorado Hyperloop to alleviate traffic!

Here’s an idea: TABOR will only go away with the support of rural Coloradans. So if the hyperloop is built along I-70, rural areas will improve because the state wide tax base due to more populated front range cities will enable rural parts of Colorado to get more money out of their elected members.

The Colorado Independent has a great summary of the response from the Governor’s charge:

Gov. John Hickenlooper used his annual State of the State speech last Thursday to chide lawmakers for failing to compromise last session on the state’s most pressing issues: the state’s budget, which he believes will have to be cut in 2016-17, changes to a hospital provider fee that could free up $1 billion over five years for transportation and education, and reforms to a state construction defects law that developers say prevents them from building affordable condominiums.
Last year’s partisan gridlock was due largely to split control of the General Assembly. It’s the same for this year – Republicans have a one-vote majority in the state Senate, and Democrats hold a three-vote advantage in the state House.
While democracy “wasn’t designed to be argument-free,” it also “isn’t designed to be combative to its own detriment,” Hickenlooper said. “Our conflicts aren’t serving us,” either at the state Capitol or in Washington, D.C. “We used to take pride in compromise…but in today’s politics we revel in getting our way without giving an inch, and stopping the other guy from getting anything done.”
Coloradans excel at working together after a tragedy, but that shouldn’t be the only reason lawmakers compromise on the state’s biggest challenges, Hickenlooper said.
The budget will be the focus of this year’s session. While the state’s economy is among the strongest in the nation, lawmakers anticipate issuing refunds to taxpayers as part of the 2016-17 budget. Those refunds, according to legislative economists, could range from $25 to $125 for individual taxpayers, depending on income levels.
At the same time, however, the state is nearly $900 million short of meeting constitutional requirements for funding K-12 education, and more than $3 billion is needed for critical roads and infrastructure repairs. In addition, Hickenlooper’s budget proposes increasing the K-12 funding shortfall by another $50 million, erasing the progress made last year in reducing the shortage.
Those dollars won’t come out of nowhere.
Hickenlooper’s solution: changing the state’s hospital provider fee, a per-bed surcharge paid by the state’s public and private hospitals, matched with federal dollars and then re-distributed to hospitals that provide medical care to the indigent. Hickenlooper and Democrats want to see the fee reclassified as an enterprise, akin to a state-run business, a provision allowed under TABOR, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
Were the provider fee reclassified, it would free up about $1 billion in revenue over the next five years that Democrats say could go to K-12 education and transportation. Hickenlooper pleaded with lawmakers to address the issue.
While Democrats, business groups and the governor believe TABOR allows the change, Republicans, including Senate President Bill Cadman of Colorado Springs and Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, oppose it, calling it a maneuver to get around TABOR.

Hickenlooper spoke about rural Colorado concerns throughout the speech.
He highlighted the state’s Rural Economic Development Initiative program, which last year helped bring 100 jobs to Costilla County. Hickenlooper also discussed the effort to expand broadband services to “every corner and corral” in Colorado, by leveraging federal dollars, state assets and with the help of telecommunications reform laws passed in 2014.
Becker praised Hickenlooper’s frequent references to rural Colorado. “It’s rural Colorado that is suffering,” Becker said, adding that growth that has boosted the Front Range economy hasn’t made its way to the Eastern Plains.

Colorado Capital Can Roll Back Hyperloop via Renewable Energy Standards

News from the Colorado State Capitol of a Senate bill that would effect a solar powered Colorado hyperloop. Senate Bill 44.

The Denver Business Journal reports:

The bill would roll back Colorado’s renewable energy goals, currently set at 30 percent by 2020 for investor-owned utilities, to half of that — or 15 percent. The goal for rural cooperatives, which currently need to get 20 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2020, would be rolled back to 15 percent under the proposal.

It is ironic that a small group Colorado citizens would want a small portion of their energy bills to contribute more to the “Brown Cloud” along the front range where most of Coloradans live.

RTD Too Expensive? Go Ride a Bike or Ride the Hyperloop!

Colorado Hyperloop Bike

 

There are always grumblings on RTD’s cost of tickets. An even bigger complaint is how complex they are in figuring out which one to buy. 9News and the Denver Business Journal follow up;

…pay for bus and train rides in the Denver area is probably going to change soon.
The Denver Regional Transportation District is working on a plan to simplify its fare system because it decided the current structure is just too complicated.

“It’s a mess,” argues rider Kathy Procopio ofArapahoe County. She has a point: there are three different kinds of bus fares depending how far you go, transfers to keep track of, and the light-rail system has four different zones with different prices.

So if people can’t figure out what to pay, how will they get the energy to use RTD? What if RTD needed a temporary fix for congestion? Well 9News and the Denver Business Journal have the scoop again:

If you drive along U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder, you know It can be tough to maneuver around the construction. A new program, though, is aiming to cut down on the number of cars on the highway.

It would combine RTD public transportation with employees who work in this corridor, and it won’t cost those workers a thing.

Programs like this have been shown to be a very effective way to change commute behavior,” said Audrey DeBarros, executive director of the non-profit “36 Commuting Solutions,” which is administering the program.
The EcoPass pilot program combines two things: RTD transportation, like buses and light rail, and employees who work at companies within a quarter of a mile of a Park-n-Ride station along U.S. 36. The idea is to get as many as 1,000 workers in this corridor to ditch their cars in favor of public transportation– at no cost to them.

Very novel idea, but I fear RTD has not done enough of this across the entire RTD network.

Also, to add to the confusion, people think the organization is confusing bus rapid transit into the US 36 corridor.

BROOMFIELD — That Bus Rapid Transit system being installed as part of a $438 million retooling of U.S. 36 from Denver to Boulder isn’t what local transportation officials say it is.

At least that’s according to a nonprofit group that helps develop sustainable transportation efforts across the globe. The New York-based Institute for Transportation and Development Policy promotes Bus Rapid Transit efforts and certifies projects deemed truly BRT.

What’s being developed on U.S. 36 and being promoted by the Regional Transportation District is not truly BRT, said Annie Weinstock, the institute’s regional director for the U.S. and Africa.

“I would urge them not to call it BRT,” Weinstock said.

The problem for Weinstock is that specially made BRT buses will share an express lane on U.S. 36 with High Occupancy Vehicles and motorists willing to pay a toll.

BRT systems certified by the institute mimic rail transit and travel only in dedicated lanes not open to other vehicles.

Thanks for the input, but the corridor will still be promoted as including BRT, say RTD and local officials.

“If it’s true that U.S. 36 is not actually BRT, then that’s fair to say,” said Boulder Mayor Matthew Appelbaum. “But it’s also fair to say that this is a good mobility solution that can include most of the positive characteristics of BRT for less money and it’s an approach that works best in an area like this.”

“If they don’t like us stealing that name, then help us come up with something else,” Appelbaum added.

The U.S. 36 Express Lanes Project calls for building an express lane in each direction of U.S. 36, in addition to two free general-purpose lanes. The BRT vehicles are boarded from rail-like platforms that are level with bus doors and also tend to carry more passengers and run more frequently than standard buses.

As part of the U.S. 36 project, new electronic display signage will be in place at BRT stations, while new, widened shoulders will allow buses to operate between interchanges to decrease bus travel time.

Crews will also install Intelligent Transportation Systems, or ITS, for tolling, transit and traveler information and incident management.

The whole idea behind the revamped U.S. 36 corridor is to provide people with options for travel, including BRT, standard bus service, toll lanes and even a continuous bike path, said Pauletta Tonilas, RTD’s spokeswoman for its FasTracks program.

“This is going to be a great example of a multi-modal transportation system,” Tonilas said.

Cheap multi modal transport is still a new idea in the US. The Colorado’s hyperloop will be built and connected to every single transport mode RTD has to offer, and other modes like biking. The below video is missing future transportation initiatives, like the Hyperloop.

All modes of transport should cost as little as possible for the user and be good for the environment. Thus, is also interesting to see the recent initiative to build recreational bike trail from Wyoming to New Mexico. It is a goal set by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. From the bill itself:

MANY COLORADANS ENJOY BICYCLING AS A RECREATIONAL
8 ACTIVITY, THAT BICYCLISTS USE BICYCLE TRAILS ALONG AND ON EXISTING

9 ROADWAYS FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES AND TO ACCESS ADDITIONAL
10 RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES, AND THAT SUBSTANTIAL PORTIONS OF NET
11 LOTTERY PROCEEDS ARE CONSTITUTIONALLY DEDICATED FOR OUTDOOR
12 RECREATIONAL PURPOSES AND MAY BE EXPENDED TO CONSTRUCT AND
13 EXPAND RECREATIONAL BICYCLE TRAILS ALONG AND ON EXISTING
14 ROADWAYS;

Interesting and noble, but 9News also states, that its not a done deal:

DENVER (AP) – A recreational bike trail from Wyoming to New Mexico is a goal set by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

A proposal before the Colorado Senate Thursday could play a part in that goal.

The Senate Finance Committee starts work on a bill to encourage both the Division of Parks and Wildlife and local governments to spend a portion of the net lottery proceeds they receive to construct and expand recreational bicycle trails.

The bill wouldn’t be a mandate.

The sponsor is Republican Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa. He says bike trails should be a priority in spending lottery proceeds.

In conclusion, I think the trump card will still be speed of service. 

Sustainable Development Priorities for the Colorado Hyperloop

Sustainable development will only be achieved by honoring the priorities of Colorado citizens. Focusing on the users is important to any architecture and transit system. The below video highlights this focus, and defines it as The Human Scale.

While nobel, this goal is hard to reach. That is why he nonprofit Sustainable Colorado would a great facilitator for discussions of the sustainability of the Colorado Hyperloop.

Below is a wee bit about their organization:

The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado (the Alliance) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming sustainability from vision to reality. Serving as the backbone for sustainability in Colorado, the Alliance forges decisions, secures commitments, accelerates implementation, and mobilizes a growing movement in sustainability activating collaboration and convening thought leaders. Envisioning a Colorado where connected, empowered, and sustainable communities have fulfilled their potential economically, environmentally, and socially, the Alliance offers programs, tools and demonstration models to meet this vision.
We work to make Colorado the national leader demonstrating that sustainability can be a reality by being Colorado’s Hub of Sustainability and changing paradigms.

As Colorado’s Hub of Sustainability, we connect changemakers to increase their impact and innovative ideas toward advancing sustainability.  We provide shared office space and programming to enhance the productivity and innovation of The Alliance Center tenant-partners.  We also conduct educational events that share examples of what’s working.  The environment of The Alliance Center is one that enables important collaborations to happen organically, which is what is truly needed in order to advance sustainability.

Sustainable Colorado would need to clarify the intended meaning of “sustainable” and whether they could sponsor legislation for the “sustainable” Colorado Hyperloop.

Making everyone more aware of the sustainability goals of the Hyperloop will avoid:

“justified confusion, scepticism and even public and academic cynicism about the subject. This confusion should not, however, be allowed to undermine the benefits of the work done to promote poverty alleviation and environmental protection.”

Inauguration of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

The Colorado Hyperloop would like to wish Governor Hickenlooper success in the next 4 years. Great speech on building things, now how about a Hickenlooper Hyperloop?

 “Each of us is responsible in shaping our own fate”

“Awestruck in how Coloradans respond”

“Endured fires, floods and senseless killings”

“Colorado is posed to be a model state”

“The creativity of our innovators”

“‘When we build, let us think that we build forever.'”

“Is it something for our present day delight or is it for future generations of Coloradans?”

“Colorado will be defined more by its future than its past”

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 13.40.06Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 13.43.16

 

Below is the address as prepared: 

 

Good morning,

We have many distinguished guests and dedicated advocates for the state here with us this morning:

Governor Lamm and his wife, Dottie; our State Supreme Court Justices; the Senior Command of the Colorado National Guard; former Attorney General John Suthers, outgoing Secretary of State Scott Gessler …

Chairman Heart of the Ute Mountain Utes; Councilwomen Amy Barry and Tyson Thompson of the Southern Utes; representatives of several consulates: Norway, Morocco, Netherlands and Canada.

The 12 chairs of my Inaugural Committee, including Rick Sapkin, who has been a remarkably supportive friend and advisor …

Legislative escorts: Representatives Millie Hamner and Don Coram; and Senators Jerry Sonnenberg and Cheri Jahn …

Our Masters of Ceremony, Senate President Bill Cadman and Speaker Dickie Lee Hollinghurst …

And, of course, my extended family …

On behalf of myself and Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia — whose perspective and support has been invaluable to me and to this state these past four years, especially when it comes to our education agenda — our thanks to all of you who have gathered here today.

I know it’s chilly, but in your company we feel the warmth of friendship and support.

Four years ago, when I took the oath of governor, I stood on these steps and referenced what a wise man once told me: Humility has at least two essential ingredients—it is knowing that any aspect of your life can collapse in an instant, and sincere gratitude that it has not.

When I shared those words in my first Inaugural Address I thought I understood their meaning. I had experienced loss.

As young boy, I lost my father. As a young man, I lost my job as an exploratory geologist. And during those two years that I was out of work, I lost my confidence and began to question my self worth.

I had ALSO experienced a fair amount for which to be grateful. While I was unemployed, I launched a brew pub, then a few more. I found success in a new life as an entrepreneur. I met a wonderful woman, and we married and celebrated the birth of our son. I was twice elected mayor of Denver.

But during these last four years I have gained a much deeper appreciation for the meaning of that wise man’s words. I gained a deeper appreciation for the breadth and depth of what can collapse in an instant.

There was the seemingly endless string of wildfires and the flood waters that destroyed Colorado homes, ravaged communities, and took lives.

There were the horrific shootings. I attended more funerals during my first term than I had attended in the rest of my life. I watched parents weep by the coffins of their children.

A dear friend, Tom Clements—a man who personified public service—was assassinated while in service to this state.

Although it pales in comparison, in my own home, Helen and I found ourselves telling our son, Teddy, that his mom and dad were separating.

Teddy, thank you for your support and love. As I watch you grow into a young man, I am in awe of your maturity and generous spirit. You are an old soul and a constant source of pride for your mother and me.

Any one of those events of the last four years would get a person to do some soul-searching. All of them together … well, you can’t help but wonder why.

I found myself remembering some things my mother taught me: that we experience hard times so that we can better appreciate the good ones; that we are obliged to recognize and celebrate opportunities for joy; that each of us is responsible for shaping our own fate.

After my father died, she said that in life, we often cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond.

Mothers, as it turns out, really do know best.

Time and again, during the last four years, when we would rush to the scene of unspeakable and unforeseen tragedy I was awestruck by how Coloradans chose to respond.

In the chaotic aftermath at that movie theater in Aurora … at those communities where the stench and charred wreckage of homes was all that remained… throughout the towns where in an instant so much washed away … in Arapahoe County, where a young girl by the name of Claire Davis one moment was sitting on a bench, eating a chocolate chip cookie outside her high school library, and the next moment was fatally shot by a classmate …

I saw selflessness and heroics by first-responders and civilians alike, who put others above themselves.

I witnessed the remarkable courage and kindness of neighbors helping neighbors → strangers helping strangers.

I was invited into extraordinary acts of forgiveness and love.

Four years ago, when I stood here on these steps as a governor-elect, I knew enough to know I could never anticipate all of what was required of a governor, but I thought I had a pretty solid notion of what the job would entail.

I was wrong.

On this day as I stand before you and once again take the solemn oath to serve as your governor, I am not the same person that I was four years ago.

In the same way Colorado is not the same state it was four years ago.

We not only endured fires, floods and senseless violence, when we took office four years ago Colorado was in a precarious state:

We lagged behind most of the nation when it came to job growth. Our unemployment was more than 9 percent.

Our state budget had a billion dollar deficit, and we were putting only 2 percent of our state funds in an emergency reserve, a fund set aside for unexpected challenges like wildfires and floods.

Many of our roads, especially heavily traveled highways like I-70 and I-25, desperately needed improvement; the Front Range and Western Slope were engaged in long boiling war over water rights;

the budget for the state’s education system had been cut; the oil and gas industry and environmental leaders were more often at odds than at the table trying to find common ground;

same sex couples were denied the same rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that heterosexual married couples enjoy.

Now, our present is in stark contrast to that past.

Despite the unexpected challenges and heartbreaking events—according to any number of independent rankings, Colorado is one among the top three states in the nation when it comes to starting a business and overall economic growth and opportunity.

We cut our unemployment by more than half of what it was, to 4.1 percent.

Our budget is now balanced and we have 6.5 percent of our general fund dollars into Colorado’s emergency reserve.

We’ve expanded lanes of the Twin Tunnels the first expansion—the first major improvement project on I-70 between DIA and the Vail Valley, since the road was first constructed 40 years ago.

We reformed the State Constitution and now have the opportunity to recruit the best talent to work on behalf of Coloradans, and we instituted a system to cut red tape.

We now have a draft for the first statewide Water Plan in Colorado history, wherein the Front Range and Western Slope are moving forward together and managing our state’s most precious resource.

We have been restoring funding to the state’s education budget.

We brokered agreements on rules to disclose the contents of frack fluid and rules that eliminate methane gas emissions.

At long last, same sex marriages are legal.

Colorado is no longer in a precarious state → it is poised to be model state.

Much of Colorado’s economic success has been due to the risk-taking and investment of Colorado’s business community, the creativity of our innovators, and the hard work of the people throughout this state.

Another reason why Colorado has outperformed much of the nation has been because of our state’s economic development strategies, and our collaboration with the private sector.

My partner in that planning was Ken Lund, who served most of my first term as the Executive Director of the Office of Economic Development. As often happens when a first term ends and a second begins, some cabinet members transition to new lives of their own.

A couple of weeks ago, on his last day on the job, Ken sent out an email to the staff. In it, he shared his parting thoughts.

“My grandfather and father were builders,” Ken wrote. “One of the treasures of my family, passed from my grandfather to my father and now to my older brother, is a 1923 book entitled, “Audels Carpenters and Builder Guide.”

“The book,” Ken continued, “begins with a quote from John Ruskin which is as follows:

When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us …

We should keep that quote in mind as we embark on the next four years and consider what we will build next.

There are many opportunities before us. We also face many challenges. Some challenges we cannot foresee. Others we know are looming. Chief among the challenges we know is our budget, a financial thicket.

Our State Constitution mandates that we increase our expenditures and simultaneously cut taxes.

If that does not sound like it makes much sense, that’s because it doesn’t. Nothing can grow and shrink at the same time.

However, it is also true that careful pruning can allow, quicker and stronger growth.

As we work to resolve this inherent conflict, we must constantly ask ourselves: What exactly are we proposing to build?

To borrow a phrase from the quote Ken Lund cited, is it something for our present day delight or something that will endure to serve future generations of Coloradans?

So, what will we build next?

We will continue to build a Colorado where economic opportunity is felt in every corner of the state and more people have a fighting chance to join the middle class; a Colorado where entrepreneurs flock to start a business, and the long-term unemployed can get back in the game.

Just last week, we launched an initiative that pulls together state resources from several departments, with the single-minded objective to assist the 47,000 Coloradans of our long-term unemployed, find work.

Having been among the long-term unemployed myself, I know that many of these people are assets eager to be harnessed —> eager to have a chance to earn their way and re-define themselves and to succeed.

We will continue to build a Colorado with the best managed government, where the foundation of our budget is stronger for generations to come.

A Colorado which is the healthiest state in the country, where we think holistically about the health of our citizens and how we serve them; where we promote access to quality, cost effective care; where we have the best in preventative care.

A Colorado where we continue to balance our treasured natural splendor with our energy development, holding industry and government to the highest standards; where we work together to protect, conserve, and invest our water.

A Colorado where all of our children have access to a first-rate education regardless of zip code; where funding for higher education is transparent, fair and gets results.

A Colorado with safe, livable communities that are free from discrimination and promote equality. This state, like our country, was built by immigrants;

A Colorado where infrastructure development supports the needs of our growing state population. We will pursue a strategy to add capacity to I-70 from DIA to the mountains, and on I-25 from Wyoming to New Mexico.

We will continue to build this Colorado, together—forging alliances among the public sector, the private sector and our non-profit community, recognizing that Colorado can reach its full potential only when all Coloradans are reaching their full potential.

While I have changed in some ways, here’s where I have not:

I remain a relentless—some would say an incorrigible optimist.

I believe there is no margin in making enemies.

I believe that if we are willing to compromise and collaborate on what may seem like an imperfect solution, it is far better than if we cling to entrenched positions and work against one another in pursuit of different, allegedly perfect solutions.

Progress, even if incremental, is better that gridlock.

I believe that people are happiest when they are helping others.

In fact, today, we are announcing the Random Acts of Kindness campaign.

Our hope—our goal— is that Coloradans will perform 10,000 random acts of kindness between now and July 14, which marks the start of third Biennial of the Americas in Denver.

I believe that no one party, no one person has all the answers.

While I will always give great weight to the facts, I believe I must also consult my heart and my conscience, and I will always look for the solution that is of the greatest benefit for the most Coloradans.

I tend to believe that trust is born of shared experience, and in a shared belief that every one of us matters.

And I am grateful and I am honored that I have earned your trust.

We have been through a lot, together.

We have overcome a lot, together.

And, together, we will continue to build a Colorado not just for our present day use and delight, but a Colorado that gives every Coloradan a fair chance at prosperity, opportunity and joy for the decades to come.

One other way I haven’t changed is that I believe Colorado is a place that will be defined more by its future than by its past.

That future begins today.

And I am eager and honored to get on with it.

The Triple Bottom Line

 

Could the Colorado Hyperloop be sustainable? A measure will be whether the C.H. has what is called the Triple Bottom Line.  From an online course via FutureLearn on sustainability from The University of Bath.

Note: Colorado State University has a great MBA course on Global Social & Sustainable Enterprise that also includes the Triple Bottom Line.

Its a mix between Economic, Social and Environmental or as the CSU course states; people, planet and profit.

Economic impact is the easiest to measure and include:

  • Profitable business
  • Sustainable profit margins
  • Fairly paid jobs
  • Properly paid taxes
  • Suppliers paid appropriately
  • Investment in research, development and training
  • No bribery or corruption

Social impact, with some overlap of the economic impacts:

  • Working conditions
  • Product safety
  • Paying suppliers on time
  • Good community relations
  • Equal Opportunities
  • Training and Education

Environmental Impact:

  • Efficient use of energy and other resources
  • Minimising waste and emissions
  • Protecting biodiversity
  • Avoid hazardous materials and waste

The Colorado Hyperloop’s sustainability plan should always refer back to the triple bottom line, and should be a focus on any transportation project. More posts to follow on this topic.

Fight Colorado Suburban Sprawl with Hyperloops

The backbone of I-25 is broken. Millennials are wanting other methods of transportation, especially along the whole Colorado Front Range. In the future, new generations will want, use and live near diversified transit in cities that connect to other urban areas.

 Millennials rank access to public transportation a top factor in deciding where to live.

If the Colorado Hyperloop is built, it will be  another positive factor to incentivize young people to move to the state. It will guarantee economic development along the WHOLE front range, not just in Denver or Jeffco.  It also might help control city sprawl.

A New York Times Op-Ed by Vishaan Chakrabarti highlights planning positively for “urban mass transit” from one urban area to another for youths in the future. Below is his op-ed:

FOR all of the attention showered on hipster enclaves like Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Portland, Ore., America is only in the beginning stages of a historic urban reordering. After over a half-century of depopulation, cities have been filling up — and not just with young millennials, but with families and even older workers and retirees.

This reordering, should it continue, will have dramatic consequences for our politics and society — but only if the federal government undertakes its own historic reordering and shifts its priorities away from promoting the suburbs.

The influx of young people into cities is the biggest part of the story, and rightly so. The ranks of the so-called echo boom — the children of the baby boomers — constitute about 25 percent of the population. After nearly 100 years in which suburban growth outpaced urban, millennials are reversing the trend. Once only a fraction of young college graduates wanted to move to cities; now about two-thirds do.

In the past, many of those who moved to cities in their 20s moved to the suburbs in their 30s, where schools were good, crime was low and family-oriented amenities were plentiful. But those factors are changing in cities, too. Crime has remained low, while public schools and parks have been getting better in many places.

Meanwhile, the economic challenges of starting a life in the suburbs have grown. Mortgages and car loans are harder to get for millennials, especially as they deal with onerous college debt. Though rents are increasing, it’s easier to rent an apartment in the city and take a bus or subway to work (millennials are also delaying the decision to have kids, which makes compact urban living easier).

Environmentally, the traumas of Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon spill, the geopolitics of imported energy and the perils of domestic energy extraction all argue for a lifestyle that is more resource-efficient, particularly for parents focused on teaching their children to be aware of the world around them.

The same can be said for social values. Cities were once cast as dying places in contrast to the glowing suburban future; today, the future, inasmuch as it is tied in with issues like cultural diversity and marriage equality, is centered in the urban core.

It is significant enough that young people are choosing to start the next phase of their lives in cities. But increasingly, so are their parents. No less immune to the economic shocks of the last decade, and with longer life spans and bigger health bills before them, downsizing empty nesters are also discovering the benefits of more compact living.

Given these demographic shifts, we have an unsurpassed opportunity to transform the United States into a more prosperous, sustainable and equitable country by encouraging a more urban America.

A staggering 90 percent of our gross domestic product and 86 percent of our jobs are generated in 3 percent of the continental United States, namely our cities. The carbon footprint of most urbanites is substantially lower. And cities are providing, however imperfectly, many more opportunities to climb the social ladder than our increasingly impoverished suburbs.

Unfortunately, our state and federal policies continue to encourage the opposite. Sprawl didn’t just happen — it is a direct consequence of “big government.” Cities don’t keep the wealth they generate: Our major cities send billions more in tax dollars to the suburbs, via state and federal coffers, than they get back.

The largest subsidy in the federal system is the mortgage interest deduction, about $100 billion annually. Gas taxes don’t begin to reflect the costs incurred by automobile use, from pollution to depressed land values around highways.

By contrast, urban mass transit, school systems, parks, affordable housing and even urban welfare recipients receive crumbs relative to the vastness of government largess showered on suburbia. Is it any wonder that in bustling, successful American cities, our subways remain old, our public housing dilapidated and our schools subpar?

I am not arguing that people should not live in suburbs. But we shouldn’t pay them to do so, particularly now that our world and the desires of our population are evolving.

This need not be a divisive debate. With millions of Americans already gravitating toward cities, the real question is what it means for our collective future, and how we respond.

Some cities are already moving ahead: Chicago, Denver, Dallas and New York are all advancing policies to increase urban density, infrastructure and amenities. But with their citizens’ tax receipts still being sent to the hinterlands, these attempts remain half-measures.

Cities like Colorado Springs and Boulder have had painful fights with suburban sprawl. The Colorado Hyperloop will refocus efforts to control Sprawl and improve economic development by linking urban areas. Just look at this 2000 article from the Colorado Springs Independent below, where we see the cost of suburban sprawl:

In a pasture along Old Ranch Road, just a few miles from I-25 on the city’s northern city limits, a small herd of cattle graze among a series of newly bulldozed dirt roads — what appears to be the beginning of access roads for a future subdivision.

For those who decry the loss of ranchland or open space to suburban subdivision development, it’s a poster image. Move over little bossie, here come the SUVs.

As Old Ranch Road heads east, it weaves in and out between city and county controlled land, between swaths of open meadow and newly bulldozed subdivisions.

“One of the big problems is the cost of extending infrastructure out here,” says Fosha. “We’re not able to pay for the infrastructure that we’re having to build right now.”

Car infrastructure or new Colorado Hyperloop?

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Questions of whether we should build a Colorado Hyperloop shouldn’t be a zero sum game.

If you don’t know what zero sum means in game theory, look at this video by President Clinton.

So lets imagine a future different from the past. Cars will forever be around. Rail will always be around. Hyperloop will be new, but it will show our interdependence on the other forms of transportation. A hyperloop will reveal that we are interdependent to each other as well.

Colorado relates to this important higher level of thinking because CDOT will be embarking on some major infrastructure projects that will affect people. The 9News report below shows that interdependence of other transportation links are important, but more so are the people and lives that these projects change.

The reason why we must avoid the racist highways/transit projects that divided our cities for years goes back to what Clinton was saying in the above video. We have to believe in interdependence and we have to believe that we will be better off when we work together. Below is the report related article from the 9News article:

DENVER – Mayor Michael Hancock joined a group of other Denver city council members and other regional officials to express support for the $1.8 billion dollar project to improve I-70 east of I-25.

The Colorado Department of Transportation hopes to begin work on the project in 2016. Mayor Hancock sent a letter to CDOT asking the agency to study ways to minimize the negative impact of the project on people who live in the neighborhoods that will be directly affected by it.

“My number one priority is to ensure this project supports the Elyria, Swansea and Globeville neighborhoods,” Hancock said at a news conference Friday. “I am concerned that the impacts of this project could be born disproportionately by the surrounding minority and low income communities.”

CDOT calls its plan the “Partial Cover Lowered Alternative” because it will put a section of I-70 underground and establish parks and landscaping on top of it.

When I-70 was originally built through the area 50 years ago it created economic hardships for residents of the neighborhoods due to property values and other negative impacts of an interstate highway, which was a common issue for the U.S. interstate system when it was built.

Mayor Hancock believes the new project is an opportunity to “…really elevate the people in this area who really have been victims of environmental injustice from over 50 years…” He called the improvements to I-70 “a chance to redevelop these neighborhoods, improve their quality of life and create job opportunities and create access to healthier living opportunities including fresh food in the neighborhoods as well as a way to improve their standard and quality of life in these areas.”

We need a higher level of feeling and thinking. The Colorado Hyperloop would enable people to go along the whole front range, fast, unfettered and at very low cost for the masses. This would relate to another Elon Musk possible project:

This post was provoked by a NYTimes, Mark Bittman op-ed section below:

So we should not be asking, “How will we feed the world?,” but “How can we help end poverty?” Claiming that increasing yield would feed the poor is like saying that producing more cars or private jets would guarantee that everyone had one.