Colorado legislative leaders began the 2018 session Wednesday with speeches that were both aspirational and confrontational — calling across the aisle to address the rising costs of living in Colorado and calling out majority parties in both chambers to stop obstructing efforts on everything from road funding to expansion of rural broadband services.

Following a 2017 session that was considered one of the most productive in recent memory for its success in passing bills on things like construction-defects reform and the reclassification of the hospital provider fee, Republican and Democratic leaders pointed to the success of their most recent year as proof that they can bridge divides and work together.

But their speeches then showed that plenty of divides remain, both on how to address issues like transportation financing and public-pension reform, and even on what issues should be priorities.

House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, emphasized that both transportation funding and education funding are priorities for her caucus, which holds a 37-28 advantage in the lower chamber of the Legislature. But rather than focus on just one or two things, she said she will review every part of the budget to assure it meets the needs of Coloradans, searching for ways to help people afford their housing more easily and to attack the opioid addiction crisis.

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