Different possibilities still being eyed to pay for road, bridge projects in Colorado

Posted at 4:25 PM, May 22, 2017

DENVER -- Colorado voters may have the chance to decide if the state sales tax should be raised slightly to pay for road and bridges in our state after lawmakers failed to strike a deal during the legislative session.

While the amount of the tax hike is still being determined, the Legislature looked at a plan that would raise it from 2.9 percent to approximately 3.4 percent, but an agreement was never reached.

Under the TABOR amendment, voters must approve any tax hike in Colorado.

"I think if you look at the average voter everyday who gets frustrated with sitting in traffic every single day, they see a lot of the areas that need improvement, so I can see our average voter really wanting to see some improvements in the long-term," said Loren Furman, of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry.

Business leaders who support the move say they know it will be tough sell, but feel it's cost-effective and is sustainable long-term.

"Our coalition has tested other alternatives like a gas tax, but that would require a significant increase.  Voters just don't seem to really support that option," said Furman.

Another effort would focus on issuing bonds for construction and maintenance projects.  While it would not raise taxes, voters would have to approved it.

“While the state budget keeps going up year after year, politicians have starved roads to fund other pet projects.  If the legislature won’t do its job and prioritize spending to fix our damn roads, we’ll ask the voters to do it for them,” said Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute.