Realities of Transportation Funding
By the end of 2017, unless something changes, the State Colorado won’t have enough money to do anything except maintenance on the state highways and the interstate system.
And at this point, Colorado residents don’t support increasing the sales tax state wide for transportation nor do they support increasing the gas tax. That’s according to polling done last year across the state.
I don’t bring all of this up to be negative. Rather, it’s to make the point that we need to begin considering local options. That was a major topic of conversation recently between a small group of Northern Colorado business leaders and outgoing CDOT Director Don Hunt. Hunt was making the point that funding for state transportation projects will be in short supply. Both the federal government and the state of Colorado are not likely to fund capacity improvement projects like the widening of I-25.
One option discussed by the group was the creation of a group of regional transportation authority’s along the Front Range. RTA’s are a tool created under state law that allow residents in local areas to tax themselves for transportation projects. That may be a viable option for Northern Colorado. The general consensus among business people in the room is that unless something is done sooner rather than later, congestion on north I-25 will adversely impact the area economy and quality-of-life. They prefer to be proactive rather than leave our fate in the hands of the state and federal government.
Among other ideas, RTA’s will be part of the conversation this summer by the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance.