The transportation bill backed by Senate Republicans in Colorado gets its first hearing on Tuesday. Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland talked to Ed Sealover with the Denver Business Journal and Marianne Goodland with Colorado Politics about that and other issues as part of our weekly series during the legislative session.
On the Republican transportation bill that would set aside about $300 million per year in state money to pay for bonds for major road projects on I-25 and I-70:
Sealover: This is a subject that everyone wants to attack but not with the same ferocity. House Democrats especially have been reluctant to say how much they want to put to transportation. Gov. Hickenlooper has said he wants to put about $150 million per year. The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce has said it still wants to move ahead with a tax hike on the November ballot asking people to create a new revenue stream dedicated solely to transportation funding.
Goodland: We’re kind of waiting to see just how the Democratic Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran of Denver wants to handle this. She has been fairly unclear about exactly what she wants, though she was part of the sponsors last year for a measure that would have gone to the voters to ask for a hike in the sales tax. It would not surprise me if she wanted to see something similar to that this year. She has been open to the idea of using some of this excess revenue that has surfaced in recent weeks.
On the Colorado energy office:
Sealover: This is a bill that would reshape the energy office in some ways by removing the word renewable, which may not sound like a big deal but that basically means it could do more to promote traditional fuel sources, and fuel sources such as nuclear and hydro- electricity that are spelled out in the bill. A lot of people thought Democrats would fight this one. They fought it last year when there were a lot more things in the bill including striking down tax breaks for electric vehicles. It was pared down a lot more this year.
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