Construction industry urges Hickenlooper to sign tourism bill

Groups representing the construction industry in Colorado have called upon Gov. John Hickenlooper to sign the Regional Tourism Act.

Leaders of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, the Colorado Contractors Association, Associated General Contractors and the Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors said that the “hallmark of the legislation is job creation” in a letter sent to the governor earlier this week.

The legislation would lift a current limit imposed on the Colorado Economic Development Commission to support just two of the projects that have applied for state backing. The Regional Tourism Act would allow all projects to be considered based upon their merits, construction groups say.

“This program merely gives local projects the endorsement backing they need to get out of the starting gate and attract capital investment in the marketplace,” the letter said. “For Colorado to give local projects an initial boost, and spark the creation of more than 20,000 jobs in the midst of the toughest economy in recent memory seems to us the height of positive public policy and basic common sense.”

Hickenlooper has “serious problems” with the legislation, according to a report by The Denver Post last week, after the act passed the House.

“We have been and remain concerned about the bill unless it is amended,” Hickenlooper spokesman Eric Brown told the Post. The governor’s office needs the legislation to include more oversight provisions and mechanisms for proving that dollars generated by Regional Tourism Act projects are from out-of-state visitors.

Hickenlooper’s office did not immediately return calls requesting response to Monday’s letter.

The legislation must be passed by the Senate before it reaches the governor.

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Molly Armbrister covers real estate, banking and health care for the Northern Colorado Business Report. She can be reached at 970-232-3139, marmbrister@ncbr.com or twitter.com/MArmbristerNCBR

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