VAIL ― Addressing hundreds of county commissioners from around
, Gov. Colorado Bill Ritter announced today that he will extend the life of his Blue Ribbon Transportation Finance and Implementation Panel.
At the annual summer conference of Colorado Counties Inc., Gov. Ritter said he will direct the bipartisan, statewide committee to undertake a broad public-awareness campaign about the state's transportation funding crisis and craft specific legislative solutions.
Gov. Ritter established the panel last year. It met more than a dozen times around
and was co-chaired by State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, Colorado Transportation Commissioner Doug Aden, and business and civic leader Bob Tointon. Colorado
The panel was scheduled to sunset June 30, but Gov. Ritter said he is directing the panel to shift into a new phase over the course of the next 12 months.
"The Transportation Panel started this dialogue a year ago, and its initial work provided a great starting point," Gov. Ritter said. "They gave a name to our 'quiet crisis' – which is quickly becoming a noisy crisis. Federal transportation funding is getting cut by a third. State revenues are declining. And maintenance, repair and construction costs are climbing.
"That's not a sustainable formula. It's not responsible to continue delaying. It threatens our overall quality of life and our economy. Therefore, I am extending the term of the panel and charging it with developing a broad public education campaign and crafting specific funding proposals that we can present to the 67th General Assembly in 2009.
"This work will not be simple and it will not be easy, but it is essential for the future of
's economy and our overall quality of life," Gov. Ritter said. Colorado