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  #8701  
Old Posted Yesterday, 4:56 PM
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Originally Posted by bunt_q View Post
They'd better hurry because the plan to extend the tolled ExpressLanes northward isn't waiting, it's moving right along.
Planning is a good thing,

Doing a little digging I see where Texas between 2004 and 2013 spent $114 billion on major roads. (I assume) that includes the $18 billion that was borrowed to be paid back through some type of toll. That $18 billion is about 16% of total spending.

What will be most interesting is to see how the politics plays out. If Republicans were in control I have no doubt they'd cut the budget for many things and redirect the savings to CDOT, Would they want to wait until 2018 to see if they could gain control? While it's not improbable that it could happen it's a very dicey bet to make. Plus that would mean changing the budget in 2019 which means dirt wouldn't move until 2020/21.

Let's assume that a bipartisan voice arises to raise the gas tax by one thin dime a gallon for voters to decide in 2016. That (if passed) should raise about $250 million per year. If 60% were to go to CDOT and the other 40% to cities and counties that may be salable. With an extra $150 million per year presumably CDOT could accomplish a few of their major priorities. It's nothing ventured nothing gained to give voters the choice.
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  #8702  
Old Posted Yesterday, 6:47 PM
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When I say we can't wait, it really means the decisions need to be made now. If we are moving ahead with using private dollars to construct tolled lanes, often times we will be limited in our legal ability to expand the general purpose lanes after that. Because there are investors relying on toll revenues, there is often a covenant not to expand free lanes, which could diminish pledged revenues.

I guess what I'm saying is that in a lot of corridors, that ship has sailed. It doesn't matter what gas tax you put on the ballot, general purpose widening is probably not going to be a thing in a lot of corridors.

Also, it is probably already too late for 2016. Particularly if it was to be a referred measure, bills for the legislative session that starts in January are already being identified. Also, you'd never get that referred in a general election year, neither party wants it. So 2017 at the earliest.
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  #8703  
Old Posted Yesterday, 8:39 PM
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In the video I watched no one even hinted at using toll lanes.

Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer, chairwoman of the North I-25 coalition spoke as did Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway, head of the Northern Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization (NFMPO). Business owner Carl Maxey also put in his two cents. Senator Bennett also spoke. It was mentioned that both Senators, Bennett and Gardner are working with Congress to get I-25 expanded.

Whether the various northern Colorado stakeholders are willing to cede all future control of an Interstate highway without voter input is a good question. Color me skeptical.
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  #8704  
Old Posted Yesterday, 11:36 PM
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Whether the various northern Colorado stakeholders are willing to cede all future control of an Interstate highway without voter input is a good question. Color me skeptical.
Legislators don't control that in Colorado, the Transportation Commission does. And whatever happens, it will most certainly not involve a vote. I can also promise you there will not be a gas tax vote in the next two years unless it's from a citizen initiative. Federal money is the wildcard, but we are already extending the HOT lanes on I-25 North - that's not a maybe, that is already happening. Where the HOT lane stops is the only question left. It might not make sense from a congestion standpoint not to extend it farther north, even if it can work financially.

EDIT: More likely is another attempt at legislation to move the hospital provider fee into an enterprise. That would free up a ton of money, reinstate Senate Bill 228 funds, etc. Surely that is more palatable to conservatives than an actual tax increase, since it's only a theoretical increase to move things out from under the TABOR calculation.

Last edited by bunt_q; Yesterday at 11:53 PM.
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  #8705  
Old Posted Yesterday, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunt_q View Post
EDIT: More likely is another attempt at legislation to move the hospital provider fee into an enterprise. That would free up a ton of money, reinstate Senate Bill 228 funds, etc. Surely that is more palatable to conservatives than an actual tax increase, since it's only a theoretical increase to move things out from under the TABOR calculation.
That was my understanding when I read the Post yesterday.

Quote:
Hickenlooper wants to exempt the hospital provider fee from state revenue collections under TABOR because it pushes Colorado over the constitutional cap, prompting taxpayer refunds next year even as the state struggles to adequately fund priority areas.

If the fee were removed from TABOR, Colorado's revenues would fall under the cap and the state would have $200 million more to spend on road projects and classrooms, the governor said.

"People love rebates. You're a hero when you send out tax refunds," he told a crowd of 50 at the theater. But "the refunds have to come from the general fund, so they have to come out of education, they have to come out of transportation."
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  #8706  
Old Posted Today, 1:35 AM
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Yes, moving the hospital provider fees into an enterprise fund was originally proposed by Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and various business groups. Hickenlooper carried the ball for this. It was and still is a great idea.

bunt... You're not asserting that the Transportation Commission, which is a part of CDOT has no master are you? Aren't you describing a job function as apposed to actual power and control? Otherwise someone might want to inform the legislature and the Governor.

This is interesting. According to Fox Business (and other sources) the State of Washington gas taxes went up by 7-cent-per-gallon Saturday to a total of 44.5 cents a gallon. That compares to Colorado's 22 cents per gallon.
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Next summer, the tax will increase an additional 4.9 cents a gallon, putting the total state tax at 49.4 cents a gallon. The state increase was part of a $16 billion, 16-year transportation revenue package approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor earlier this summer.
So Washington State joins Georgia in raising this year a fresh $billion per year for roads and bridges.

I understand that in Colorado because of TABOR that voters get to make the ultimate decision regarding tax increases. It would seem a dereliction of duty to not give voters their choice in what they want with respect to critical road and bridge infrastructure.
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  #8707  
Old Posted Today, 3:59 AM
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With most states' legislatures having wrapped up their business it's time to check the results. In addition to Washington and Georgia stepping up and increasing their transportation funding by a billion dollars a year there's also:

Iowa - increased their gas tax by dime a gallon to a total of 32 cents per gallon.
South Dakota - raised their gas tax by 6 cents to a total of 30 cents a gallon.
Nebraska - increased thier gas tax by 6 cents to a total of 31.6 cents.
Idaho - increased their gas tax by 7 cents for a total of 32 cents per gallon.
Utah - raised its gas tax by 5 cents to a total of 29.5 cents a gallon. It's actually a 12% sales tax and is capped at 40 cents per gallon.

Some states rely less on a gas tax than other means for their transportation funding. For example Texas and Oklahoma raise a lot from oil & gas taxes, Arizona from a sales tax.
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  #8708  
Old Posted Today, 6:07 AM
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All states without TABOR.
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  #8709  
Old Posted Today, 6:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
bunt... You're not asserting that the Transportation Commission, which is a part of CDOT has no master are you? Aren't you describing a job function as apposed to actual power and control? Otherwise someone might want to inform the legislature and the Governor.

I understand that in Colorado because of TABOR that voters get to make the ultimate decision regarding tax increases. It would seem a dereliction of duty to not give voters their choice in what they want with respect to critical road and bridge infrastructure.
If you want to have the first discussion with me, we do it over a beer.

On the TABOR point, it's not dereliction of duty so long as voters have the ability to put their own issues on the ballot via initiative, which we have. No politician has a duty to expend political capital on lose-lose issues; to end their own jobs, which is what support for putting a gas tax hike on the ballot amounts to.
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  #8710  
Old Posted Today, 6:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bunt_q View Post
If you want to have the first discussion with me, we do it over a beer.

On the TABOR point, it's not dereliction of duty so long as voters have the ability to put their own issues on the ballot via initiative, which we have. No politician has a duty to expend political capital on lose-lose issues; to end their own jobs, which is what support for putting a gas tax hike on the ballot amounts to.
IMO the ball is primarily in the Republicans court. They understandably want more revenue for their neck of the woods. Moving the hospital fees to an enterprise fund is the easiest trick. Whether they're likely to acquiesce is a good question. Even if they would the bulk of the extra $100 million a year is likely to be needed for the I-70/C-470 projects in the near term.

What is needed is additional dedicated revenue. Like the growing states of Washington and Georgia I'm sure Colorado could use an extra $billion a year. An additional $250 million wouldn't go that far but it's way better than nothing.

One option for 30 mile I-25 north project between Longmont and Fort Collins would be to vote on a sales tax increase in Weld and Larimer counties plus Longmont. Another option would be to make the whole trip a toll road. In either case the revenue would sunset when the bonds are paid off. Add in 40% Federal matching funds and the lift wouldn't be all that heavy at all.
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