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DENVER-FasTracks, the $4.7-billion transportation initiative, was approved by metro-area voters on Tuesday night. The measure was supported by Mayor John Hickenlooper and New Urbanism-style developers who believe that it will mean millions of square feet of new high-density, Smart Growth, transit-oriented developments along new light rail lines.

The project will take 12 years to complete. It will provide new lines linking Downtown to every direction, including one to the Denver International Airport. That line likely will be a diesel line on heavier track, not a light rail line.

Gov. Bill Owens opposed it, noting that it would not cut the overall commute times throughout the metro area. The tax is too high to justify the measure, he contends.

But opponents say that governor is missing the point. The note that during peak traffic hours, an estimated 22% of the commuters would be taking public transportation. But, they point out, if someone is riding the Gold Line to the west side, for example, it will do nothing to reduce congestion along South Colorado Boulevard at the other end of the metro area.

Hickenlooper stumped for FasTracks much like former Gov. Roy Romer lobbied for the building of Denver International Airport about a decade before. Hickenlooper called the approval of FasTracks the most important vote in the state over the next 100 years, because it will shape the metropolitan region for generations.

The Colorado chapter of the Urban Land Institute sponsored seven seminars on TODs around FasTracks that outlined the potential. It brought experts from places such as Oregon and San Diego to speak. About 1,500 attended the seminars.

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