(May 8) – The House of Representatives voted today for what may go down as the centerpiece achievement of the 2018 legislative session — a multiyear Colorado transportation plan to relieve traffic congestion and support our state’s economic prosperity without jeopardizing education funding.
After session-long discussions, a bipartisan agreement was struck this week by Speaker Crisanta Duran, Senate President Kevin Grantham and Senate Democrats on arguably the biggest transportation spending package in Colorado history. SB18-001 will invest $645 million in one-time transportation appropriations over the next two budget years followed by a 20-year investment of general fund money in bonds to reduce CDOT’s $9 billion projects backlog.
“We have said from the beginning of the session that transportation is a top priority for the House Democrats, and this proposal delivers without putting education spending at risk,” Speaker Duran said.
“For years, the issue of transportation funding has been a challenge for the legislature. This year we have a solution.”
“This is going to help us reduce congestion,” said Rep. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, who sponsored SB18-001, told the House. “SB1 has shown the legislature is committed to both one-time and ongoing funding. We need a critical investment in transportation that reaches all four corners of the state and includes roads, highways and transit. SB1 is a critical step forward.”
The bill would provide a one-time 30 percent boost to CDOT’s cash fund account in the 2018-19 fiscal year to kick-start a round of road improvement projects, and about a 12 percent increase in the 2019-20 fiscal year. Seventy percent of the one-time funds are to be transferred to the state highway fund, with the remainder split between local roads and multimodal options. The next step under the plan is the purchase of $2.34 billion in bonds for transportation projects and $50 million a year for 20 years in additional general fund dollars for transportation.
The House’s 36-29 vote sends SB18-001 back to the Senate floor, where concurrence is expected.