Legislature Fails to Address Transportation Funding

SB-272 TRANS II, was introduced late in the session by Rep. Brian DelGrosso (Loveland). The bill was the result of lobbying from the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance and would have extended gas tax bonding – with no new taxes – to finance a specific list of projects, including North I-25. The bill passed the Senate but was assigned by Speaker Dickie Lee Hullinghorst to the State Affairs Committee, where it died on a party-line 6-5 vote. The bill was opposed by Democrats, who favored Gov. Hickenlooper’s transportation proposal, which relied on TABOR juggling to increase revenue for CDOT. (CAR did not take a position on this one.)

The Republicans in the Senate responded by voting down HB-1389, the Governor’s complicated proposal to make the hospital provider fee an enterprise fund to remove it from TABOR revenue cap. The Governor said the bill would free up $700 million in cap space in 2016 and guarantee a $200 million annual transfer for transportation via SB-228 dollars. Republicans on the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee said they didn’t want to take TABOR refunds away from Coloradans and weren’t sure that roads would get full funding; they killed the measure on a 3-2 party-line vote.

In the end partisan politics killed both bills. We all lose because Colorado will go another year with no state revenue source for highway projects.

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