Hancock Wants an Infrastructure Bond in 2017. What Would It Pay For?

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According to Denver’s capital improvement plan, these walking, transit, and biking projects are top priorities right now, but it remains to be seen what the new bond measure would fund. Image: City and County of Denver

Mayor Michael Hancock and the Denver City Council will ask voters to finance a package of projects through a bond in 2017, but it’s unclear how much money will go toward safe, sustainable transportation.

The bond would cover “overdue and upcoming capital asset and infrastructure needs,” according to a statement from the mayor’s office. That could include money for protected bike lanes, filling gaps in the sidewalk network, and redesigning streets to boost transit. In all, the city’s high-priority transit, walking, and biking projects will cost upwards of $100 million, according to the capital improvement plan.

Improving parks, municipal buildings, and cultural facilities are also high priorities for the ballot measure, according to the mayor’s office.

While the capital improvement plan will prioritize where the money goes to some extent, residents will also have some say.

“Denver is faced with a great opportunity to make critical investments in our growing city with the upcoming 2017 [general obligation] bond,” Hancock said in a statement. “A key part of this process is to hear from you — our residents, businesses and neighborhoods — about your ideas and priorities.”

The last time elected officials asked Denver resident to vote on a bond was 2007. That $550 million bond paid for 380 projects, including things like streetscaping and better pedestrian infrastructure around transit stations. But a lot of the money went to car-centric projects like widening Federal Boulevard and streets around the I-25 and Broadway interchange.

The mayor’s office isn’t ready to estimate the size of the new bond measure yet. “The final amount will depend on the final list of projects and the debt capacity, which has not been determined yet,” Jenna Espinoza, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office, told Streetsblog. “The process of gathering public, City Council, and stakeholder input will determine what the final number will be.”

That decision process starts in November with public meetings and will end next summer when the City Council votes to put the package on the November 2017 ballot. Here’s the schedule of upcoming events where you can weigh in:

  • Tuesday, November 15, 6-7:30 p.m. at Montbello Campus, 5000 Crown Blvd.
  • Thursday, November 17, 6-7:30 p.m. at Teller Elementary School, 1150 Garfield St.
  • Tuesday, November 29, 6-7:30 p.m. at Corky Gonzales Library, 1498 Irving St.
  • Thursday, December 1, 6-7:30 p.m. at Lincoln High School, 2285 S. Federal Blvd.
  • Tuesday, December 6, 6-7:30 p.m. at Bruce Randolph School, 3955 Steele St.
  • Thursday, December 8, 6-7:30 p.m. at South High School, 1700 E. Louisiana Ave.