Transportation Funding Opportunity

On Monday the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting presented its quarterly revenue forecast to the Joint Budget Committee and the news was extremely positive. Similarly, the Legislative Council estimates the legislature will have a whopping $1.29 billion in new revenue to spend beginning with the July 2018 fiscal year.

This presents a unique opportunity for our state’s leaders to make truly meaningful investments in transportation statewide. There are several positive efforts at the Capitol and it is essential that we keep attention on this issue to make transportation a priority with the Legislature.

  • Governor Hickenlooper asked the Legislature to allocate $500 million of that new revenue to transportation on a one-time basis. While this is a bold and commendable gesture, we all know that one-time funding isn’t enough. It’s imperative that we work toward permanent, predictable and reliable transportation funding.
  • A bill currently before the Colorado Legislature (SB 1) would refer a measure to Colorado voters to approve the State selling up to $3.5 Billion of transportation bonds and using $350 Million of the new revenue to secure the bonds. That would make a significant dent in what CDOT estimates is a $9 billion gap in funding when compared to actual need.
  • Adding some urgency to this is the Trump administration’s plan to award federal infrastructure funds based on state and local participation with new, localized funding for infrastructure. States and cities that bring resources to the infrastructure table would move up the list for federal funding.

These are all positive developments and present unique opportunities to begin to solve what has seemed to be an unsolvable problem. However, these opportunities could be lost if we don’t insist on bold action from our elected leaders in Denver.

Additionally, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce is pursuing a ballot initiative to increase the sales tax to fund transportation. This search for new funding options is an important addition to the opportunity in immediately in front of the Legislature with SB 1.

Transportation funding is a problem in our state. Let’s fix this.