Colorado lawmakers taking steps to give transportation projects a $500 million boost

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DENVER — It remains a perennial issue in Colorado — a $9 billion CDOT backlog of transportation projects.

This year, in addition to ballot measure efforts taking place outside of the General Assembly, lawmakers at the Capitol are taking steps to fund nearly a half a billion dollars worth of projects.

This week in the Republican controlled State Senate, a $500 million transportation bill was passed. SB1 is a compromise between Republicans and Democrats to fund $500 million worth of new highway construction immediately while putting a bonding measure on the ballot in 2019.

In the Democratically controlled House, a budget was passed that allocated $495 million to transportation through a combination of funding to local, regional, and state organizations. Unlike the Senate version, the House spending would welcome mass transit projects and bike lanes.

Now the question is can the two chambers come together to get the $500 million into law and onto the streets?

“We are going to continue to negotiate have conversations with GOP leadership and the transportation committee,” House Speaker Crisanta Duran (D) said this week.

Republicans released this statement:

“We’re probably going to see the Democrats in the House try and push for a tax increase, eliminating bonding, and even allocating more of the money towards mass transit,” said Senator Randy Baumgardner (R-Hot Sulphur Springs), also a prime sponsor of SB-1. “I hope we won’t see any of that happening. Coloradans want us to use the money we have to fix our roads and Senate Bill 1 does that.”

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