These types of projects present a range of challenges, including the challenging of equity … relatively new in the space where federal housing, transportation, and environmental policy converge but with substantial on-the-ground implications, including those that Denver Post columnist Tina Griego wrote about last week.
Some of the equity challenges embedded in this project are regional in scope, such as thoughtfully and fairly distributing the dollars across multiple planned lines, and ensuring that development around transit stations affords people from a range of incomes the ability to use the transit system. Other challenges are more localized but no less important, such as protecting the integrity of neighborhoods that have a new transit line and transit stop (or that soon will have these). In the abstract, it’s easy to dismiss these types of concerns, since support for transit and for neighborhood revitalization is so widespread. But the quick escalation of property values that often accompanies new transit lines can be extremely disruptive, destroying local businesses and forcing people from their homes. And changes in land use around new transit stations can have a huge impact on the character of existing communities.
This is a tough project (and I’m very glad to see my extremely capable colleague Jocelyn Hittle as our point person), but it’s an important one, and if managed well the result will be good policy outcomes and community members along these transit lines that feel they contributed meaningfully to decisions that will impact their lives in complicated ways.