Transportation-funding advocates ramped up their push for the Colorado Legislature to put more money into roads Wednesday after a state forecast showed that robust economic growth will leave the state with almost $200 million more in its coffers this year than previously predicted .
The quarterly forecast from Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting stated that Colorado is on pace to bring in $179.2 million more in the fiscal year that ends on June 30 than was predicted even three months ago. It also forecast that the 2018-19 fiscal-year budget, which the Joint Budget Committee is beginning to assemble now, will be $106.6 million higher than was predicted in September, even though growth will be constrained next year by shortages in the labor market.
Business groups and legislative Republicans have been pushing for more money to be spent on fixing the state’s transportation system, which the Colorado Department of Transportation has estimated faces a $9 billion backlog over the next 10 years. Legislators agreed during the 2017 session to put $1.9 billion more toward roads and transit through the sale of bond-like certificates of participation, but most transportation advocates have said more needs to be done.
Groups from Colorado Concern to Fix Colorado Roads have said that the Legislature should take some or all of the higher revenue it is receiving this year and next and create a sustainable funding source through the general fund for transportation.