Leaders of 21 Colorado chambers of commerce and other business groups weighed into the ongoing road-funding debate today, siding with state Senate Republicans and requesting specifically that the Legislature set aside at least $300 million a year in order to tackle major projects throughout the state.
The request came in a letter to legislative leaders delivered one day after Gov. John Hickenlooper reiterated in his State of the State address that he wants to add at least $148.2 million from new tax revenues to the budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.
And it came two days after state Senate Republicans introduced a bill that would seek permission from Colorado voters in November to sell as much as $3.5 billion in bonds to tackle projects like widening Interstate 25 north of Denver and expanding Interstate 70 through the mountains — a total that would require about $300 million a year to be set aside to repay the bonds.
But while Republicans want to set aside a substantial portion of new tax revenues for roads and bridges, Democratic legislative leaders have said they are weighing how much to put to transportation at a time when they believe new funding should go also to education and to helping people afford residences and child care, and when they believe voters should get to decide whether to raise their own taxes to set aside more for transportation.