Historic Transportation Package Advances

DENVER, CO — The House Finance Committee today advanced historic legislation that will future-proof Colorado’s broken transportation funding system, improve air quality, create jobs and save Coloradans time and money spent on roads and vehicle repairs. 

“Fixing our transportation infrastructure will help get people to work, kids to schools and goods to markets across the world,” said Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver. “Colorado is a hub for innovation and creativity, but our aging transportation system is failing to meet the needs of our diverse and growing population. The average Coloradan loses $732 per year on vehicle maintenance and repairs due to deteriorated road conditions and lost time stuck in traffic. By fixing our broken transportation funding system, we can turn this around and build the modernized infrastructure Colorado needs to compete and grow.”

“A historic, bipartisan coalition of business groups, local government officials, mayors, environmental advocates and labor unions are supporting this bill because it is the best chance we have ever had to fix our transportation system,” said Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield. “By meeting market demands for more electric vehicles and creating dedicated funds for air quality improvement, we will protect our clean air and reduce congestion. This bill fosters more transportation options for students, workers, and families, and will create good jobs along the way.”

SB21-260, sponsored by Speaker Alec Garnett and Representative Matt Gray, will save Coloradans money and time spent on roads by reducing congestion, creating new transportation options, and balancing the needs of every Colorado community. Colorado’s gas tax was created in 1991, and its value has significantly eroded since then, leaving Colorado roads and transportation system drastically underfunded. The bill will create a sustainable funding source for transportation infrastructure that will support a dynamic economy, improve air quality, create jobs, and ensure Colorado is positioned to compete with other states. 

The bill provides $5.365 billion in transportation funding to fix roads and bridges, improve transit options, meet Colorado’s climate goals, help disproportionately impacted communities, and future-proof the state’s transportation system. The funding will come from a fair and responsible mix of state and federal funding, as well as fee revenue that reflects all the users and uses of our transportation system. For the first two years, the proposal reduces vehicle registration fees, saving drivers money in 2022 and 2023. All new fees won’t begin until FY23and will be nominal, phased and spread across all users of the system to bring down longer-term maintenance and repair costs while ensuring we are improving our infrastructure. 

Overall, the bill promotes collaboration between the Department of Transportation (CDOT), Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE), and the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) to coordinate both regional and statewide efforts to develop a transportation system that supports a dynamic economy while improving air quality, saving Coloradans money and time spent on the roads, and making key investments in rural and disproportionately impacted communities.

To ensure transparency, performance and accountability measures will be required for every entity that receives funding through this bill, including the four new enterprises created within the bill. The Colorado Energy Office and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will report on progress made toward the electric motor vehicle adoption goals in the “Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan 2020” and the transportation sector greenhouse gas pollution reduction goals in the “Colorado Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap.” CDOT and every new enterprise will maintain project management public dashboards that will show key performance indicators for projects paid for by the funding in this bill.

Over the course of the eleven-year plan set forth in the bill, nearly $3.8 billion will be generated through new revenue, and the bill will leverage over $1.5 billion in state general fund revenue and stimulus dollars. This will provide long overdue funds after years of failed legislative attempts and ballot measures to support our statewide transportation system, as well as create good-paying jobs that will continue to exist for decades to come.

In addition to bipartisan legislative support, the proposal has garnered endorsements from local leaders and organizations across the state, including: Governor Polis, Mayor Hancock of Denver, Mayor Arnt of Fort Collins, Chair of the Metro Mayors Caucus Mayor Jackie Millet, Mayor Suthers of Colorado Springs, Mayor Weaver of Boulder, President and CEO of the Boulder Chamber John Tayer, A Way Forward chair and president and CEO of Colorado Concern Mike Kopp, Adams County Commissioner Eva Henry, SMART Union, Action 22, SWEEP, Lyft, Pipefitters Local 208, Colorado Competitive Council, Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Mike Ferrufino, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce President Kelly Brough, Grand Junction Economic Partnership Executive Director Robin Brown, Rocky Mountain Mechanical Contractors Association Executive Vice President Dave Davia, Former Colorado Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Routt County Commissioner Beth Melton, Chaffee County Commissioner Keith Baker, Summit County Commissioner Tamara Pogue, Boulder County Commissioner Claire Levy, Grand County Commissioner Rich Cimino, La Plata County Commissioner Clyde Church, Eagle County Commissioner Matt Scherr, Larimer County Commissioner Kristin Stephens, Adams County Commissioner Emma Pinter, and Clear Creek County Commissioner Randall Wheelock.

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