Photo by Tom Boyd
Vail Pass accident lends credence to light-rail argument
March 31, 2008 — I made it over the pass today – and for that I feel lucky.
Passengers in 50 other cars weren’t so lucky. A few minutes after I drove through, yet another accident occurred on I-70 during heavy snows. Sadly, one person has lost their life, and others are in critical condition, according to the Colorado State Patrol and the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Never has it been so clear that alternative forms of transportation are the ideal solution to the I-70 situation. Right now I-70 is the sole means of transportation to-and-from Vail and Denver. Much like our nation’s energy policy, we are putting all our eggs in one basket.
As our state senate considers how to pay for I-70 improvement, I encourage them to once again consider a rail or light-rail option. Costs for such a project are stratospheric – but so are the consequences of a policy which requires amateur drivers to navigate the ever-crowded, ever-treacherous ribbon of highway which links our major cities to our ski areas.
A senate committee is currently exploring the idea of charging a $5 toll on I-70, then using the money to add an extra lane to the highway.
I can handle a toll, but to spend the money expanding the highway is patently absurd. The fundamental issue is that we currently require hundreds of thousands of visitors to our state - many of whom have little to no experience driving in snowy conditions - to navigate roads which are very, very difficult to handle, even for seasoned locals in 4x4s and proper tires.
The true solution to I-70 must be carpooling and mass transit in the short term, and light-rail in the long-term. An I-70 expansion doesn't solve the issue.
As evidence to that effect, here's a look at the consequences of our all-eggs-in-one-basket policy: video from a wreck, similar to today's, which took place earlier this year near Frisco on I-70.
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