Mayor John Hickenlooper today received the 2009 Mayors’ Climate Protection Award, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Wal-Mart Stores, for the FasTracks initiative. The award recognizes Mayors for innovative practices designed to increase energy-efficiency and curb global warming.
An independent panel of judges determined the winners from a pool of 140 applicants, including Boston; Charleston; Chattanooga; Colorado Springs; Frisco (Texas); Honolulu ; Houston; Louisville; San Francisco; Seattle; Stamford; and Tallahassee.
“These leading mayors are great examples of the local action taking place within our cities to become climate friendly,” said Conference President Miami Mayor Manuel Diaz. “[The] FasTracks program will serve as a national model, for cities striving to reduce traffic congestion and pollution.”
FasTracks is the most ambitious transit initiative in U.S. history, creating an opportunity to connect smart growth, housing choices and expanded transportation. The challenge of passing a large transit initiative in an ideologically diverse region was met by uniting the environmental and businesses communities and all Metro Denver mayors in a regional bipartisan coalition.
“All 32 Denver metropolitan mayors and the Regional Transportation District joined forces and worked hard to earn community support for a sales tax increase to build FasTracks, the largest transportation initiative in the country with 119 miles of new light rail,” said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. “We were able to demonstrate to residents throughout the metropolitan area how they would benefit – that even if they wouldn’t ride light rail, they’d end up with shorter commute times by getting as many people possible off the highways and onto the trains. FasTracks will be a crown jewel for Colorado and a clear example of what can happen when government and the communities they serve come together for a common goal.”
Regionwide, 51 of the 57 new stations have Transit Oriented Development potential – meaning the potential to reduce sprawl, and provide pedestrian- and bike-friendly environments that encourage residents to live, work, shop, and play in close proximity to transit, thus reducing their carbon footprint.