Denver -- Polls consistently show that Coloradans overwhelmingly want better roads. And that sentiment crosses party lines. But only Republicans are responding by offering a concrete, detailed, road-tested way to kick start road upgrades across Colorado, which they want to put before voters this fall.
That proposal is Senate Bill 210, the Fix Colorado Roads Act, which if approved by voters would spend $3.5 billion on a specific, high-priority list of road upgrades over the next 20 years without raising taxes. On Thursday it sped toward likely passage, winning approval by the Finance Committee and passing the Senate on second reading.
Transportation Committee Chairman Randy Baumgardner (R-District 8), who authored the bill, told the Finance Committee that Coloradans are tired of decaying roads and eager to see a viable fix put forward. "Wherever I go in this state, people ask me why we aren't fixing our infrastructure and that's what this bill is intended to do," said Baumgardner. "It's not the be all and end all proposal some people are looking for, but it's a big first step toward jumpstarting this work and showing the people of Colorado that we're as concerned as they are about this issue."
The proposal is modeled on a successful 1999 "TRANsbond" due to be paid-off next year, so it's a proven approach to getting projects done. Projects are identified in advance, drawn from an established and vetted priority list. Modifications made since a similar bill died last session resulted in better bill with broader stakeholder support.
Whether that's enough to sway enough Democrats is yet to be determined. But the need for action this year is clear, according to the bill’s House sponsor, Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland).
"You can't drive anywhere in Colorado without noticing the poor conditions of our roads, and if we don’t invest in transportation in this state, we can expect to see the condition of our roads continue to get worse," said DelGrosso. "We have worked hard to design a bill that could make $3.5 billion dollars available for specific transportation projects in every region of Colorado, and most importantly, do so without taking more money from taxpayers."
One more nod from the Senate and SB-210 will be on its way to the House for debate.
Please contact Sean Paige at 719-337-0355 with any questions.