The Long Road to Compromise: Senate Bill 1 Passes

DENVER – On Wednesday, the Colorado State Senate passed Senate Bill 1, a priority transportation bill for the Republican caucus that will ensure long-term funding for Colorado’s roads.

After over a week of heated discussion, debate, and amendments, Senate Bill 1 garnered bipartisan support, ending with a unanimous, 35 to 0 vote this morning. Amendments include an increase in the immediate investment into roads ($250 million to $500 million), changes to the continual funding source for bonding (from a portion of existing sales tax revenue to the general fund), and a change in date for the potential election question (2019 from 2018), to name a few.

“We got something done,” said Senator John Cooke (R-Greeley), a prime sponsor of SB-1 and the Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, “and that’s what matters. If the House listens to Coloradan’s needs, and the Governor signs this bill, we will see more money flowing to Colorado’s roads than we have seen in decades, and it won’t raise taxes on a single individual, family, or business. That means something.”

Despite the optimism from the Senate, Senate Bill 1 is expected to see major changes when House Democrats get the opportunity to amend the bill.

“We’re probably going to see the Democrats in the House try and push for a tax increase, eliminate bonding, and even allocate more of the money towards mass transit,” said Senator Randy Baumgardner (R-Hot Sulphur Springs), also a prime sponsor of SB-1. “I hope we won’t see any of that happening. Coloradans want us to use the money we have to fix our roads and Senate Bill 1 does that.”

“The fight isn’t over for a responsible fix to Colorado’s roads,” said Senate President Kevin J. Grantham (R-Cañon City). “We are proud that we got Senate Bill 1 out of the Senate with bipartisan support, but even that may not prevent the House from eviscerating such good work. We must remain vigilant in ensuring that the core tenants of this bill carry through to the Governor’s desk. I will not be complicit in allowing the State of Colorado to fail in addressing this issue once again.”

Senate Bill 1 now heads to the Colorado House of Representatives where Coloradans will hope and pray the Democrats show a little restraint.

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