Gov't Affairs, Govt - State of Colorado

Sen. Jones’ Tolling Bill Draws Immediate Opposition

Sen. Matt Jones (D-Boulder County) created a furor over the lack of transparency and public input for the Highway 38 public-private partnership (P3) plan. Then he drafted a bill that he claimed would solve those issues.

However, the bill he drafted and circulated for comment has not garnered support and will not be introduced, according to observers at the Capitol. CDOT lobbyists said the department’s concerns “are beyond significant…Chief among these (concerns) is legislative committee approval over contracts, adding three additional layers of government agencies to the review process, etc.”

In fact CDOT has stated that the bill, as drafted, would have the “effect of severely chilling future P3 agreements or deterring any bidders at all. Some of these will have the effect of preventing future P3 deals entirely.”

CDOT agrees that more transparency should be added to future High Performance Tolling Enterprise’s P3 projects, which are the Department’s best hope to fund highway improvements and expansions given the lack of general fund budget for transportation. However, as any REALTOR knows, contract negotiations require a level of confidentiality. If Sen. Jones introduces a similar bill next session, hopefully he will ratchet back some of his requirements.

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