NCLA and its business allies have succeeded in making transportation a top priority for the 2017 session, but that doesn’t mean the legislative leadership agrees on how to fund it. Democrats, led by Speaker Crisanta Duran like the idea of a new State sales tax. Republicans, led by Senate President Kevin Grantham insist any funding plan must include reductions in existing taxes to offset new ones.
In the meantime, many other players have joined the fray. The Colorado Contractors Association (CCA) first began lobbying for a new transportation sales tax last year. This year the Metro Mayors Caucus has become involved, only it wants more funding for transit.
It’s good that many different groups with different agendas have joined forces in calling for more transportation funding. The bad news is that there is little consensus on how to fund it. Recent polling paid for by a coalition (including the groups mentioned above and others) shows that Coloradans agree transportation needs to be a priority but there is inadequate support for a new sales tax to pay for it. In fact, 45 percent of those polled said the State has enough money for transportation, it just needs to be more efficient in spending it.