Baumgardner Calls Road-Funding Idea Interesting but Inadequate
Denver — Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Randy Baumgardner (R-Hot Sulphur Springs) today gave mixed reviews to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s plan to use a portion of a surprise $1 billion revenue bump to kick-start work on Colorado’s chronically underfunded roads. While the sums of money Hickenlooper floated offered a welcome starting point for discussions, said Baumgardner, they fell short of the long term commitment required to tackle the state’s $9 billion road maintenance backlog.
“While Senate Republicans welcome the Governor’s willingness to look to these unexpected new revenues as a road-funding source, the relatively small sums he’s talking about, on a one-time basis, frankly don’t begin to address the huge road maintenance backlog we’ve amassed through years of systematic neglect,” Baumgardner said. “You just can’t realistically tackle the backlog, much less get ahead of our road modernization efforts, without bonding, which requires a much more meaningful, long-term commitment of dollars.”
The December 20 economic forecast predicted that the state would collect over $745 million more in new revenues next year than current year revenue, thanks to a growing economy, plus between $270 million and $300 million more as a result of federal tax reform. That means Colorado could soon see an unexpected revenue surge of well over $1 billion. Hickenlooper proposes using just $148 million of that for roads, on a one time basis.
“The Governor’s plan might help jump-start the truck during his final year in office, but the truck will soon be back sitting on the shoulder again, leaving Coloradans stranded, unless a longer-term fix is found,” added Baumgardner.
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