Fixing Colorado Roads: Lawmakers Formulate Plan


Photo Credit, Pixabay

The goal is to fix all the roads in Colorado, and lawmakers have a bipartisan plan to do it.  Providing everything goes accordingly, in November 2017, Colorado voters will decide on Colorado House Bill 17-1242, a $3.5 billion bond transportation initiative.

If the plan sounds too far away for the relief needed now, the good news is that legislators also plan a $50 million dollar investment, up front, to begin fixing roads immediately.

The measure on the ballot, if passed, will increase state sales taxes from 2.9% to 3.52% beginning in January 2018.  To offset that tax to citizens, which is less than a penny per dollar, Colorado lawmakers will decrease vehicle registration taxes, by $75 million per year, which is a substantial amount of savings to taxpayers.

9News published a list detailing some of the planned fee reductions under the plan, estimating the savings to be between $14 and $17 per average vehicle.

As well as agreeing to immediately release $50 million in funds to start fixing the roads now, the measure also allocates $93 million for municipal grants and requires disclosure of all the proposed projects in the “blue book” of election information voters receive prior to the election.

The proposal even includes a requirement that $50 million be budgeted annually as a “rainy day” fund for future potential infrastructure emergencies.

Of the $677 million annual projected revenue, $350 million will go toward paying off the bond package each year.  The surplus of tax revenue would then be divided between local roads and improvements (70%) and transit (30%).

Lawmakers would also be required under the plan to form a 15-member oversight committee.

Most if not all democrats appear to be on board with the plan.  Some Republicans are speaking out against it, stating that it is not revenue neutral enough.  Several Republican leaders spoke of plans to oppose the legislation, while others will attempt to change how the revenue is allocated.

It sounds like a solid start to a good plan to fix Colorado roads, which according to CDOT research detailed by the Post, is costing drivers approximately $2,200 per year on vehicle wear and tear and travel expenses.

Colorado lawmakers have been working toward much needed solutions for a long time, as Colorado’s population has increased and drivers have multiplied.  Without a plan such as this in scope, the roads will continue to get worse, and costs to repair roads will increase.

We can have roads that look like this against our mountains:

Photo found on Pixabay

or this:

Colorado voters will decide this year.