Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Tale of Two States That Begin With The Letter "C"

In 1990, the populations of Colorado and Connecticut were strikingly similar, CO-3,294,394 and CT-3,287,116. 15 years later those population numbers are CO- 4,665,177 and CT- 3,510,297. Statistics don't tell the whole story though. At the beginning of the 1990's, Colorado invested in attracting high tech companies to the state. They invested in their infrastructure so that people and goods could move more freely throughout the state and invested in their airports and mass transit.
August 1987: Public Highway Authority Law passed, allowing cities and counties to collaborate to form tollway authorities.

November 1999: The TRANs ballot measure passes, allowing CDOT to float bonds and speed up many construction projects. The vote is also de facto approval of I-25's Southeast Corridor project.

May 2002: Legislature passes law allowing CDOT to form a state toll authority and put tolls on new highway facilities. source: Colorado Highways: History


Connecticut, during the same time period, has largely only managed to create plans and studies and somehow missed out in fostering the type of high tech industries that create jobs.

Today's Connecticut Post, Citizens seek halt to growth in Milford, Zone change sought to protect small business provides a sampling of the difficulty in creating a job friendly growth strategy in Connecticut. Towns are competing against each other for economic development while trying to preserve the character of their residential communities. For Connecticut to compete in the 21st century, regional planning must become a priority.

18 comments:

CC said...

This is an excellent post, except that it omits probably the biggest factor contributing to the increase in population in Colorado. It was not investment in infrastructure that drove people (mostly from "blue" states) to Colorado. It was tax policy. Just as Connecticut was passing its first income tax in 1991, Colorado was reducing or maintaining its low tax policy. Today, an upper middle class family in Colorado can expect to pay about 35% less in state income tax, as much as 87% (!) less in property taxes, and (as a result) about 35% less in federal income tax.

Anonymous said...

There's one really big difference between Colorado and Connecticut and that's land. CO is the 8th largest state; CT is 48th. Certainly regional planning is the way to go for CT but efforts must incorporate maintaining or bettering quality of life in the face of an aging infrastructure, population, economic demographic, etc. These are not the same set of circumstances facing Colorado and strategies will be markedly different.

bluecoat said...

CT has regional planning already, don't you know. Diane Farrell used totout her chairmanship of SWRPA every chance she gotbut now now on her latest transportation link.

GMR said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GMR said...

While road infrastructure matters, it's not all that matters. So do taxes, as CC pointed out. So do land prices. So do Electric rates. CT pays 11.31 cents per kwh, while CO pays 8.14. That's a big difference if your business uses a lot of electricity.

bluecoat said...

Wait 'til everybody finds out that this CT transportation spending does little to boast the economy becasue there is no reduction in spending to pay for most of it.

Anonymous said...

Liberals take note--only one thing made the difference here.

TAXES!

Colorodo adopted a spending cap equal to the population increase plus inflation. Unlike Connecticut, they actually stuck with it.

Talk all you want about other issues (land, infrastructure, etc.), they are all secondary to taxes.

The Democrats in the legislature are slowly killing this state through their high teax policy, and John DeStefanos' proposals (e.g., universal health care) are going ot be the final nail in the coffin.

Only people left in CT in twenty years are the rich who can afford the taxes and the poor who can't afford to move elsewhere. Middle class is squeezed out by Democrats tax policy.

Brookstone said...

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes. People forget that spending is the problem, not taxes. The spending cap proposal has a lot to do with this issue. So does the size of the state. However, the post is concerned with transportation.

Toll roads are a perfect idea, when they are used to make something self-sufficient and not as another tax to increase general spending. Toll roads free up (no pun intended) the roads that cost nothing to drive. They allow the people that need it, and can afford it, to take a faster route. This lessens the traffic on the free route and thus lowers the cost of upkeep. Toll roads also force carpooling, in order to split the cost.

Toll roads will also create a commuter tax on the people and businesses that constantly drive through, but never in our state. We are the perfect route from Boston/Providence/shore points to NYC. It takes less than two hours to drive through our state, so we see minimal economic benefit from this. Making a toll road, will generate income that can be used to maintain our roads.

Self-sufficient tolls, reducing the cost of energy, cutting spending and reducing taxes are what the viable republicans in this state stand for. Sam Caligiuri, Jodi Rell, Nancy Johnson all seem to be supporting ideas like this and it is what makes them successful candidates in such a blue state.

bluecoat said...

The Democrats in the legislature are slowly killing this state through their high tax policy, which has been repeatedly endorsed and signed onto by not only the Rowland/Rell governorship but also a many Republicans in the state legislature who signed on with Rowland/Rell as long as they got their bag of goodies to take home near election day.

bluecoat said...

1:43; does that mean Jodi favors tolls now? everything I have seen from Republicans including John McKinney and others running as republicans is they don't want tolls. Flip-flopping is fine with me as long as it flips the right way - and tolls are the right way.

Anonymous said...

Bluecoat--

Good point in the 1:51 post.

Rowland and Rell are as guilty as the Democrats for allowing run-away spending.

But you better believe it will be worse if JDS is Governor.

turfgrrl said...

Taxes are a component of good government, but as bluecoat has mentioned, it's the spending that should be the focus. Connecticut is just not run as an efficient government. Colorado spends its infrastructure dollars in smarter ways. Part of the problem in Connecticut is the lack of regionalization of municipal services.

The reflexive anti-tax comments from Republicans fails to address the underlying problems of CT government. We should be getting more for our dollars, but we don't. We let federal dollars sit unused because we don't have politicians that passionately care about making CT a better state. Too much status quo in the land of steady habits.

CC said...

Turgrrl: It sounds as if you are (wisely) questioning the concept of home rule?

turfgrrl said...

CC-- As practiced by 169 towns, sure. I see benefits to a county system of government, particularly for infrastructure items, roads, sewers, regional development, water, utilities etc.

Brookstone said...

I can't speak for any particular candidate on their position on tolls, but I can say that being a fiscal conservative is a requirement of being a Republican in CT. Self-sufficient toll road system would fall into that.

bluecoat said...

there is no need for county govt.: CT is smaller than many counties in this country - smaller than many cities; there just needs to be a little leadership in Hartford from the guv and legislature - not a bunch of new county executives and county legislators!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Turffgurl...I suspect this intiative was a bit more influential in getting Colorado's economy moving forward than a toll road or two....

http://www.nationalreview.com/nrof_comment/comment-new110402.asp

Think the Democrats in CT would ever support this....they insist on making a mockery of the spending cap we already tried to enact ...

GMR said...

Toll roads are a perfect idea, when they are used to make something self-sufficient and not as another tax to increase general spending. Toll roads free up (no pun intended) the roads that cost nothing to drive. They allow the people that need it, and can afford it, to take a faster route. This lessens the traffic on the free route and thus lowers the cost of upkeep. Toll roads also force carpooling, in order to split the cost.


I would definitely favor tolls on 95 and other highways provided 1) I don't have to spend 20 minutes to pay the toll, and 2) the toll rate changed during the day based on the average traffic volume for that hour. So 4:00 am could be free or minimal, while 4:00 pm would be more expensive. This would encourage people to shift their commute times if possible: ask for flex time, or switch to jobs that did, or work from home, or whatever.