BizWest Editorial: Prop. 110 transportation issue deserves support

Let’s go, Colorado!

State voters have an opportunity in November to address critical shortfalls in transportation funding — making up for years of neglect and making a major dent in the estimated $9 billion in unfunded transportation projects.

Two measures have made it to the ballot, with one, Proposition 109, falling far short of what’s required. While 109 includes a catchy title — “Fix Our Damn Roads” — it doesn’t actually create much new funding for roads, essentially generating only $2 billion in funding over and above what would occur anyway.

For that reason, and to avoid confusion with a better solution, we oppose 109.

Proposition 110, however, which carries the aforementioned “Let’s Go Colorado” monicker, would generate billions of new dollars through a sales-tax increase. The measure would increase the sales tax from 2.9 percent to 3.52 percent for 20 years, generating $767 million in the first year. It also would allow the state to borrow $6 billion for transportation funding.

Forty-five percent of the funds would go to the Colorado Department of Transportation, while 40 percent would go directly to local governments and 15 percent for multimodal projects, such as bike paths, sidewalks and public transit.

Proposition 110 has been endorsed by a variety of chambers of commerce, economic-development groups and local governments, and for good reason. Local groups not only will benefit from projects addressed by CDOT but also will be able to control what projects are funded at a local level.

Back in 1991, Colorado spent $128 per person for transportation, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. But that number has plummeted over the intervening years, to just $69 per person. It’s time to close that gap, and Proposition 110 will do just that.