Colorado senator rejects CDOT's toll road idea for new transportation bill

HB 1242 to ask Coloradans to raise taxes
Posted at 7:54 PM, Mar 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 21:54:08-04

DENVER -- On the heels of the newly-proposed House Bill 1242, the Colorado Department of Transportation is suggesting those roads be “managed lanes,” like HOV or toll lanes.

House Bill 1242 is meant to help alleviate traffic in the area, build new added lanes to highways and improve roads. Coloradans would have to vote on raising taxes to begin with.

I-70 and I-25 are two of the projects that would be priorities if the bill is passed. The areas are notoriously traffic jammed.

"I think it's a nightmare. It takes you twice as long to get to Denver than it should. And if there's an accident, forget it," said Stephanie Welker, a Monument resident.

Hearing of the possibility of managed lanes is not popular with the drivers Denver7 spoke to, but CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt explained that it’s necessary. He referenced the T-Rex expansion and how those highway lanes filled up immediately.

"If you just add general purpose lanes, then people are like, 'Great there is space on the highway, let's go drive,'" Bhatt said.

Some people call it double taxation, but Bhatt said years of studies prove it's the smartest way to go.

"If you don't want to pay a toll, you don't have to pay a toll. But I promise you will benefit if these managed lanes are built and there will be more capacity and more moving cars on the highways," said Bhatt.

The legislators behind the bill aren't exactly on board. Senate President Kevin Grantham did release a statement explaining that CDOT’s idea of a toll road is is a non-starter and will not be something voters have to worry about.

Nothing is written in stone, but Bhatt said at the very least, he hopes change is around the corner.

“If you are sick of sitting in traffic on I-25 or I-70, then within five years, you are going to see major improvement,” said Bhatt. “Every day that goes by that we don’t make the necessary investments, the problem only gets worse.”

The Federal Highway Administration has approved construction on I-70 and on I-25, north of Denver. There is still a study out on I-25 south of Castle Rock.


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