Following eight months of negotiations, the Colorado Legislature’s leaders late Wednesday introduced a 20-year transportation-funding bill asking voters to approve a sales tax hike to generate some $677 million per year for highway and transit projects — without making significant cuts to existing state revenues.
Observers, including Gov. John Hickenlooper, quickly referred to House Bill 1242 as a starting point, saying they expect details about everything from the size of the tax hike, to the allocation of new revenues, to be up for debate in the two months that the Legislature has left in its 2017 session.
But House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, and state Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City, both expressed gratitude at finding a compromise they believe can muster support of their two parties’ lawmakers before they take their case to voters.
“We want to make sure that roads and bridges and transportation options across the state are adequately funded for generations to come,” Duran said shortly after introducing the bill just past 5 p.m. Wednesday.
She will co-sponsor HB 1242 in the House along with state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, the Steamboat Springs Democrat who chairs the House Transportation and Energy Committee, which will hear the proposal first.
“Introduction of this transportation bill doesn’t mean we’ve arrived, just that we’ve hit another important mile marker on the long and winding road to a long-term transportation fix for Colorado,” Grantham said in a statement. Continue reading