One of the top Republicans in the Senate said Monday that he plans to introduce an alternative transportation-funding bill that would not seek a tax hike from voters, a move demonstrating how politically contentious the first bipartisan measure introduced last week is.

Senate President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg — the Sterling Republican who acts as the leader of the chamber if President Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City, is away — said he is in the early stages of drafting a proposal that would set aside about $100 million a year in the current budget for transportation projects and seek voter approval for a $1.3 million or $1.4 billion bonding measure.

That is a little more than a third of the size of the bonding measure proposed in House Bill 1242 and would take care of fewer of the top-tier projects that the Colorado Department of Transportation has identified, but Sonnenberg said that’s the most the state can do without seeking a tax hike that could fail at the November ballot.

That Sonnenberg would break from Grantham — who is sponsoring HB 1242 along with Democratic House Speaker Crisanta Duran of Denver and the transportation committee chairpersons for the two chambers — shows how much peril even the most stringent transportation supporters could be in at the ballot, were it even to get enough support to make it through the Republican-majority Senate.

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