Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Lawmakers seek spendy solution to I-70 traffic (Colorado ski area road toll)
Collegian (CSU newspaper) ^ | 1/30/08 | Nick Hemenway

Posted on 01/30/2008 2:11:08 PM PST by NorCoGOP

To many college students, a perfect weekend in Colorado is found on the snow-covered slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you ski or snowboard, the only things you need are a jacket and a ride to the mountain.

However, if some Colorado lawmakers have their way, the drive to the ski resorts could become more costly.

Anyone who has been to the slopes, especially on the weekends, knows that the worst part of the day is the traffic along I-70. From the large trucks to the vans full of out-of-state tourists who don't know how to drive on snow, the morning commute in the mountains is always a headache of stop-and-go traffic.

Every few years, legislators throw forth a new idea of how to unclog the main artery into the mountains.

In 2001, some proposed an elaborate monorail system to take riders from Denver International Airport all the way to Vail. This vision was short-lived due to its $4 billion price tag and its unproven performance in mountain terrain.

In the latest revelation from our state legislature, Sen. Chris Romer (D-Denver) has introduced a plan to charge fees to skiers and snowboarders who use I-70 during the weekend morning rush hour and to reward those who travel outside of peak driving periods.

According to the plan, skiers could be charged anywhere from $5 to $12 per trip for driving up the mountain between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m. on the weekends, depending on traffic. If they wait until after the rush, they would be rewarded to the tune of $25.

Sen. Romer, explaining the program, told the Rocky Mountain News, "you're just reallocating money from those who are time-sensitive to those who are price-sensitive, and that's a perfect market-based solution."

Apparently, the senator doesn't know the difference between the free market and socialism.

How exactly the fees would be enforced is the question for the ages. Romer offered some vague suggestions.

One idea has ski resorts taking the lead in enforcement, involving parking lot attendants with scanners dolling out fees based upon the time vehicles arrive at the resort.

There's a great idea -- have the ski resorts fine their own customers for coming to their businesses after spending an arm and a leg on lift tickets.

The other concern regarding a fee and reward system is making sure it is financially viable.

Romer flaunted his program's incentives, saying "What teenager or college student wouldn't take $25 for gas money to move their departure time up 45 minutes? Throw in a Chipotle burrito, and you've probably got all of them."

Time for some math. Let's say each week, one-eighth of our student body were to drive up to the resorts, packed four people to a vehicle, during the off-peak periods both Saturday and Sunday. Each vehicle would receive $25 per trip. Over the length of a single four-month ski season, those CSU students alone would receive about $625,000.

Even with funds gained from the rush hour fees, that is a mountain of money to offset for such a small number of people.

Everyone wants to make the drive to the resorts less stressful, but imposing a fee on drivers (also known as taxpayers) for using the highways that they already own is not the right answer.

Maybe the senate could use some of that $15 million in Referendum C money that magically found its way into the CDOT budget last year alone.

Nick Hemenway is a senior mechanical engineering major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Colorado
KEYWORDS: chrisromer; corruption; romer; ski; taxes

1 posted on 01/30/2008 2:11:09 PM PST by NorCoGOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: NorCoGOP

What idiots.

2 posted on 01/30/2008 2:13:31 PM PST by svcw (The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NorCoGOP
Well, at least one person is learning something in college.

Apparently, the senator doesn't know the difference between the free market and socialism.

Ouch. That has got to hurt. Is the Romer in this story related to Roy?

3 posted on 01/30/2008 2:15:52 PM PST by 3AngelaD (They screwed up their own countries so bad they had to leave, and now they're here screwing up ours)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NorCoGOP

There is a good reason that toll roads are not the norm. The money that could be spent in the destination city goes into tolls and it is a lot of money. Huge amounts.

Which is why toll road fees, a new tax, are a bad idea.

4 posted on 01/30/2008 2:18:50 PM PST by TexanToTheCore (If it ain't Rugby or Bullriding, it's for girls.........................................)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 3AngelaD

Yep, his son.

Back in the old days, the Romer’s owned their own ski area around Guanella pass. Roy said it was cheaper to run the ski area for his kids, than spend money going to the resort. So, I guess you could say our Senator is an elitist skiing snob.

5 posted on 01/30/2008 2:22:28 PM PST by CherylBower (Demos believe: Govt is the solution to problems - Repubs believe: Govt is the cause of problems)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: NorCoGOP
There is already a market incentive for people to travel tot he slopes at off times, the traffic delays at peak times.

The ski resorts already bring in a fortune in sales taxes that could be used for infrastructure improvements in the area.

This is just another liberal excuse to add more taxes.

In my very limited experience the drive down from the slopes around when the lifts closed down for the day was far worse than the drive up to the slopes, so they really aren't even trying to address the worst part of the traffic congestion problem. They are just taxing the skiing industry even more than it is now.

6 posted on 01/30/2008 2:23:49 PM PST by untrained skeptic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: untrained skeptic; colorado tanker; jan in Colorado; rellimpank; XeniaSt


” just another liberal excuse to add more taxes...”

7 posted on 01/30/2008 2:28:24 PM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: untrained skeptic
A friend of mine was snowed in at Vail News Years Eve due to Vail Pass on I-70 being closed...

The one and only "discount" hotel in town was offering a stranded driver "special" rate for the night - $350...fortune is right.

Everyone could really make life interesting, if they all banded together - still go up early, but, instead of going straight to the slopes, stop at the local McD's/Village Inn etc for coffee, then once the time limit passed, head on over, and get your $25 check request processed - eveyone wins.

8 posted on 01/30/2008 2:29:08 PM PST by NorCoGOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: NorCoGOP

Young Mr Romer is about to become the most un-popular person in all of Colorado.

9 posted on 01/30/2008 2:54:32 PM PST by Regulator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NorCoGOP
What ever funds a state collects from tolls should be deducted from the cost of license plates so the state breaks even on the deal.
10 posted on 01/30/2008 3:14:47 PM PST by Mark was here (Hard work never killed anyone, but why take the chance?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson