Joe Blake, CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce opened with a quote from Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. As we look forward to the remaining of 2008 and 2009, we are all now on an uncertain stage. Business hates uncertainty.”
“Before the event, I was chatting with Bill Moore. He asked me to give us all some good news. There is some good news and some bad news. One of the things that we tend to overlook is the powerhouse that we have at DIA. There is no greater engine for our economy than DIA. The expansion of the 6th runway. They did have plans for a $280 million dollar expansion on concourse C. They have postponed that due to the economy. The Cherokee Gates project has been delayed a year and now will begin 2011. Bond issues in Steamboat Springs and Colorado Springs have been postponed. In Colorado, it is projected that 1 in 25 homeowners are likely to go into some kind of foreclosure. The $4.7 million dollar expansion of Light Rail has now ballooned to $7.9 million.
With an uplifting voice he continued, “Now let’s look at some of the positives from a statewide perspective. We have a tremendous military investment from Congress-$700 million allocated for Colorado. Buckley is the fastest growing air force base in the country. Denver is one of the top 10 real estate markets to watch in 2009. The ground breaking of the first phase of Denver Union Station is set with a budget of $125 million. That is going to be a major revenue maker for the state. Colorado leads the world in aerospace research. RTD is doing an extraordinary job now hitting the 100,000 million person mark with their passenger service, which is a major statement for a Western City that relies on its highways. Job growth in Colorado is predicted to be up 1.6% for 2009. We expect to see net migration of 23,000 to Colorado in 2009.”
Joe continued, “Why, as the rest of the county is having problems, do we seem to be doing relatively well compared to other cities. One reason is that we have focused on growing 11 industry sectors. Space opportunities – Colorado is #2 for space employment. There is also bioscience, tourism, agriculture, energy to name a few.”
Joe Blake touched on his concerns in his closing statment. “On Saturday, Governor Ritter will announce the 2009 budget. One of the areas that is going to be hardest hit is transportation. TREX came from bond issues, not from taxes. This year and for the future, the state department is going to have to repay $169 million for this bond issue. We are facing a crisis in transportation. There is no money for Senate Bill 1. What are we going to do to take care of our transportation shortfall?”