This November, you’ll see a couple of questions asking you two different ways to fund transportation projects throughout the state.
News5’s Alasyn Zimmerman breaks down both propositions.
Proposition 109 – The ‘Fix Our Damn Roads Act’
‘As our budget continues to grow, the state has this huge surplus, over the last 10 years they’ve neglected our roads,’ said Jon Caldara, President of the Independence Institute leading the ‘Fix Our Damn Roads’ initiative.
The Independence Institute’s initiative wants voters to approve a measure for $3.5 billion dollars of existing money to be used in a bonding measure to pay for a wide variety of projects throughout the state.
The proposal details the following projects that would be funded in southern Colorado:
- Construction of continuous flow intersection (similar to intersection of Woodmen and Union) on Powers Boulevard from Constitution to North Carefree
- Drainage and intersection improvements on Highway 24 from I-25 to Woodland Park
- Widen I-25 south from S. Academy Boulevard to the Lake Avenue exit to six lanes total
- Construct new interchange at Powers Boulevard and Reseach Parkway
- Widen U.S. Highway 50 to four lanes with shoulders, passing lanes and other safety improvements to the Kansas border
- Widen U.S. Highway 50 west of Pueblo from two lanes to three lanes
- Widen shoulders and provide safety improvements on Highway 67 from Divide to Victor
- Replace and widen Rock Creek Bridge on Highway 115
CLICK HERE for a link to the full text and full list of projects that would be funded around Colorado.
‘It’s not a promise of ‘trust us we’re going to get to your project,; you can read the actual language of the initiative,’ said Caldara.
The initiative has also garnered the approval of Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers.
‘I’m thrilled about it, I think there are very few people as respected as Mayor John Suthers, he understands how important it is to reallocate this funding,’ said Caldara.
The ballot language is as follows:
Shall state debt be increased $3,500,000,000, with a maximum repayment cost of $5,200,000,000, without raising taxes or fees, by a change to the Colorado revised statutes requiring the issuance of transportation revenue anticipation notes, and, in connection therewith, note proceeds shall be retained as a voter-approved revenue change and used exclusively to fund specified road and bridge expansion, construction, maintenance, and repair projects throughout the state
Proposition 110 – Sales Tax Increase by .62%
‘Lots of people throughout the state [feel] frustrated that we weren’t able to put money into our transportation system and address some of our most critical needs,’ said Kelly Brough, President and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Brough is a part of the coalition made up of a variety of groups including representatives from the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce.
Their solution: add .62% to the state’s existing sales tax of 2.9% to contribute more than $700 million to the projects.
‘I think one of the top reasons that the coalition started to focus on sales tax is small increase in sales tax can raise resources that can actually make an improvement and improve our lives,’ said Brough.
This way, the millions of tourists who come to Colorado every year would also be contributing to the roads.
‘This is one of the few taxes that they’re going to help pay for unlike property tax or vehicle tax,’ said Brough.
Additionally, Brough says this initiative addresses the needs of rural Colorado.
‘More sales tax is produced in the metro area, but it will be distributed throughout the state,’ said Brough.
Potential ballot language is as follows:
Shall state taxes be increased $766,700,000 annually for a twenty-year period, and state debt shall be increased $6,000,000,000 with a maximum repayment cost of $9,400,000,000, to pay for state and local transportation projects, and, in connection therewith, changing the Colorado revised statutes to: 1) increase the state sales and use tax rate by 0.62% Beginning January 1, 2019; requiring 45% of the new revenue to fund state transportation safety, maintenance, and congestion related projects, 40% to fund municipal and county transportation projects, and 15% to fund multimodal transportation projects, including bike, pedestrian, and transit infrastructure; 2) authorize the issuance of additional transportation revenue anticipation notes to fund priority state transportation maintenance and construction projects, including multimodal capital projects; and 3) provide that all revenue resulting from the tax rate increase and proceeds from issuance of revenue anticipation notes are voter-approved revenue changes exempt from any state or local revenue, spending, or other limitations in law?
One thing both groups seem to agree on? Going to the voters is the best way to get transportation funding taken care of.
‘The only way that voters in the state of Colorado can guarantee that the revenue goes to transportation is by passing it themselves,’ said Brough.
‘Since the legislature won’t fix that problem, we decided that voters need to fix the problem,’ said Caldara.
Colorado lawmakers did pass a bill this session that allocates millions of dollars over the course of 2 years to transportation.
Part of the bill includes a 2019 ballot question to bond out money for projects- however, if one of the 2018 measures passes, that 2019 ballot measure won’t see the light of day come November 2019.