With the Colorado Legislature off and running, 9NEWS political reporter Brandon Rittiman sat down with the leaders of both chambers for this week’s Balance of Power.
House Speaker Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) and Senate President Kevin Grantham (R-Cañon City) talked about a variety of topics, including how to pay for roads and what they can do about sexual harassment allegations at the Capitol.
Duran and Grantham agreed the state has to find a way to pay to improve Colorado’s roads and bridges, but how that happens is still up for debate.
The two tried and failed to reach a deal to send a transportation referendum to the voters last session.
One idea being floated by people like Gov. John Hickenlooper is to increase the gas tax. It’s been 22 cents per gallon for decades.
The 9NEWS Verify team crunched the numbers on how much more you’d have to pay per gallon to fully fund the Colorado Department of Transportation’s project list. Click here to see that story.
Another idea bandied about is changing from a gas tax – which electric cars don’t pay – to a system that charges drivers per mile.
CDOT tested that idea with a handful of cars in 2017 to see whether something like that could work.
9NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger participated in that study. You can see what he learned by clicking here.
AMAZON HEAD QUARTERS
The big news in the Mile High City Thursday was that we’d made the list of 20 cities Amazon is considering for its new headquarters.
Duran said she’d welcome Amazon to Denver with the caveat that we’d have to work hard to control housing prices and traffic congestion if the online juggernaut lands in our backyard.
Grantham quipped that if Denver’s too crowded, Amazon could always locate further south in a place like Pueblo—err, South, South Denver.
So, what does it mean to make Amazon’s not-so-short short list?
If money is more important to Amazon than location, it might not mean much. Read more about it here.
A third woman formally accused Rep. Steve Lebsock (D-Thornton) of sexual harassment this week, so 9NEWS asked Duran to explain why he remains a member of legislature.
Duran pointed out that she doesn’t have the power to fire elected officials, saying that’s up to the people of Lebsock’s district. She did point out that she’s asked him to resign.
Lebsock maintains his innocence. You can read more about that here.
An investigation into the accusations against Lebsock is expected to wrap up soon.
When that happens Rep. Matt Gray (D-Broomfield) has said he plans to introduce a resolution to expel his colleague, which would take a 2/3 majority vote to do.