Transportation funding continues to be a challenge in Colorado and an issue that has seen many bills and ballot questions in the past decade. During the 2021 General Assembly Session a $3.9 billion transportation funding plan was introduced. While the bill would address a number of current shortfalls in our transportation policy and utilize $1.2 billion in existing funds, it would also implement $2.7 billion in new fees, including on gas and diesel fuel, electric-vehicle registrations, deliveries, car-sharing services, rental cars, taxis, and more, to cover the majority of its cost. Given the complexity of the bill we are working with fellow stakeholders to determine the impacts to businesses.
As with any other major metropolitan area experiencing significant growth, there is a challenge to keep up with the needs of an aging infrastructure. According to a recent report, 41% of Colorado’s major urban roads are in poor condition and 6% of Colorado’s bridges are structurally deficient. And from 2000 to 2015, vehicle miles traveled in the state increased by 22% (the tenth largest increase in the nation) while our population increased by 25%.
Without a major change in how we fund transportation infrastructure in Colorado, this presents a significant risk to our economic prosperity. And the longer we continue without a solution, the bigger the gap grows. Having a sustainable and reliable funding source for transportation dollars is crucial especially if that funding can provide maximum flexibility for local governments to spend their allocations as they see fit. A dedicated source of funding will not just be a shot in the arm for our economy. It would send a clear message to companies both inside and outside Colorado that we are serious about our commitment to economic development. However, any funding for transportation priorities cannot be financed solely, or disproportionately, by businesses.
Our Advocacy Efforts
We have testified at numerous state legislative hearings for the last several years and advocated for transportation funding policies at the state level with our Governor, the Administration, and the General Assembly. Our members have been vocal about this issue as well and we have and will continue to partner with them to find a solution to this issue.