5 takeaways from interview with CDOT director Shailen Bhatt

DENVER - Self-driving cars, tax increases, and the I-70 project in North Denver. Next spoke to the director of the Colorado Department of Transportation this week. Here were the five biggest takeaways:

1- EXPECT TO SEE SELF-DRIVING CARS IN COLORADO

“The reason that we, and that I personally, am such a big proponent of connected vehicles and autonomous vehicles is because you know in America last year thirty 35,092 people lost their lives. In Colorado, 605 people lost their lives on our roadways. That's a ten percent increase over the last few years. Over 90 percent of those crashes caused by human error. So we want to create a positive safe environment for companies to come here and test those technologies so that we can be on the leading edge of this.”

2- THE BEER RUN BY ANHEUSER BUSCH'S SELF-DRIVING SEMI WAS A LITTLE BIT STRESSFUL

"Nothing like watching 50,000 pounds of beer and your career go down the highway at 55 mph."

3- WHY ARE PEOPLE MORE AFRAID OF SELF-DRIVING CARS THAN TEXTING DRIVERS?

"Do an experiment if you're driving tonight. Look at all of the cars that don't start when the light turns green. Look at the people driving 70, 80 miles an hour looking down at a phone, and doing things. We talk about distracted driving. Driving is a distraction from what people want to be doing these days on their phones."

4- IF THE PROPOSED TAX PASSES, IT WON'T SOLVE EVERYTHING, BUT IT COULD SOLVE SOME BIG THINGS

"We're probably going to go out there and deliver $3 billion worth of projects. So what I tell people is is that we're going to get a widening of I-25 to the north… a widening of I-25 to the south … another express lane going to the mountains … it doesn't solve every problem but it is a big chunk out of our need."

5 – I-70 PROJECT IN NORTH DENVER IS LOOKS LIKE A GO

"We got our record of decision from the Federal Highway Administration, so that is a significant milestone that means that the Federal Highway Administration is certifying that we have followed all the rules, with regard to the EPA … There is still one more challenge, the legal challenge, which means that will probably face a legal challenge in court at some point … and my guarantee is we followed the law for the 14 years up to this point, we'll continue to follow the law and we expect to go to construction next year on that project."
 

WATCH: Full interview with Shailen Bhatt

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