Colorado House would move majority of road funding

DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL

Hours after the Colorado Senate unanimously passed a formerly divisive transportation-funding bill Wednesday that sets up a potential $3.5 bonding initiative on the 2019 ballot, House Democrats sent a clear signal that the bipartisan agreement will not survive their chamber.

During an all-day budget debate, the House approved an amendment to move the majority of the roughly $500 million in one-time funds that the Senate had put toward state highway expansion to city and county roadway needs and to multi-modal projects instead. House leaders also said repeatedly that they do not want to tie up future state budgets in what they call irresponsible bond repayments for fear that it will cause funding shortfalls in other areas of the government when a recession hits.

The House vote seems to leave in peril a bipartisan agreement on how to address what is considered by many business leaders to be the most important issue of the 2018 legislative session — addressing the $9 billion backlog in transportation funding that has left major arteries like Interstate 25 and Interstate 70 severely congested. The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce continues to look at running a ballot initiative in November that would raise sales taxes to fund roads and transit.

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