These are all of the transportation bills proposed in the 2019 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.

None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, arguments for, and arguments against are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. The long description is hidden by design, you can click on it to expand it if you want to read more detail about the bill. If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.

Prime sponsors are given after each bill, with Senate sponsors in () and House sponsors in []. They are color-coded by party.

Some bills will have text highlighted in pink or highlighted in orange. Pink highlights mean House amendments to the original bill; orange mean Senate amendments. The bill will say under the header if it has been amended.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Major, Medium, Minor, and Technical. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!). Technical bills are here to round out the list. They are non-substantive changes.

Senate

Click on the Senate bill title to jump to its section:

MAJOR

SB19-012: Use of Mobile Electronic Devices While Driving KILLED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE
SB19-051: Increase General Fund Funding for Transportation KILLED BY BILL SPONSOR
SCR19-003: Replace Motor Fuel Taxes with Additional Sales Tax KILLED BY BILL SPONSOR
SB19-263: Delay Referral of TRANs Transportation Revenue Anticipation Notes Ballot Issue to 2020 SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED

MEDIUM

SB19-077: Electric Motor Vehicles Public Utility Services SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
SB19-090: Peer-to-Peer Motor Vehicle Sharing Program SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
SB19-101: Prerequisites for Construction of Managed Lanes KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE
SB19-139: More Colorado Road and Community Safety Act Offices SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
SB19-239: Address Impacts of Transportation Changes SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED

MINOR

SB19-017: Requirements for CDOT Land Acquisitions SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
SB19-018: Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Age SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-032: Hazardous Materials Transportation Routing SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-076: CDOT Colorado Department of Transportation Consulting Engineer Contracts SIGNED INTO LAW HEAVILY AMENDED
SB19-092: Emissions Inspection Check Engine Light KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE
SB19-144: Motorcyclists and Malfunctioning Traffic Signals SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
SB19-167: Honor Colorado Professional Fire Fighters SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-205: Honor Service of Women Veterans SIGNED INTO LAW
SB19-206: Sunset Standing Efficiency Accountability Committee KILLED BY BILL SPONSOR
SB19-256: Electronic Documents Motor Vehicle Appropriation SIGNED INTO LAW

HB19-1034 Minimum Two-Person Crew on Freight Trains (Danielson) [Sullivan, Esgar]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Requires any carrier engaged in transportation of property by rail to have at least two crew members aboard while the train is moving.

Long Description:

Requires any carrier engaged in transportation of property by rail to have at least two crew members aboard while the train is moving. Sets out a fine schedule of $250 to $1,000 for a first offense, $1,000 to $5,000 for a second offense within 3 years, and $5,000 to $10,000 for a third or subsequent offense within 3 years.

Arguments For:

This is a simple safety measure. One person may suffer a health incident or become incapacitated in some way.

Arguments Against:

This is an unreasonable burden on freight train operators, who may have to increase staff to meet this regulation, particularly in rural areas. Some trains in these areas may cease operating instead.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1034

 

HB19-1067 Motor Vehicle Window Tint [McLachlan]

KILLED BY BILL SPONSOR

Short Description:

Requires motor vehicles registered outside of the state but operated in Colorado to transmit at least 20% of light through non-windshield windows. The requirement for vehicles registered in Colorado is 27%.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

We have numerous vehicles on our roads from outside the state and need some sort of standard for them, just as we have one for Colorado registered vehicles. Tint is a matter of safety, both for drivers and for law enforcement. The number is low enough to accommodate other state laws.

Arguments Against: 

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1067

HB19-1072 Require Traffic Signals Cycle Yellow Before Green [McKean]

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

As traffic lights are currently required to change to yellow before turning red, this bill also requires lights to change to yellow before turning green.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

This helps indicate to both pedestrians and vehicles that movement is about to start, which can help traffic flow better and pedestrian safety.

Arguments Against:

Do we really need a costly refit of all of the traffic lights in the state so that people might start driving a few seconds earlier? Pedestrians are not positioned to see this light, they are going to see the yellow to red in the direction they are facing already, so it should not affect their safety. There’s a reason that the universal red turn to green doesn’t include a yellow, it isn’t necessary and it is potentially dangerous with inattentive drivers starting on the yellow. It also may run afoul of federal law, which the state is required to adhere to. Currently lights are not allowed to turn yellow before turning green.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1072

HB19-1099 Eliminate Red Light Cameras [Humphrey, Melton]

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Repeals the authority for any entity in the state to use automated vehicle identification systems (including red light cameras) to identify traffic violations and issue citations.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

This is pure money grab for cities and counties, including things like issuing citations for merely stopping beyond the white line. Colorado Springs ended its program after the evidence showed it did nothing to improve safety. Colorado would join other states in banning the practice.

Arguments Against:

It is strange to hear people arguing that we should not use all means necessary to stop people from breaking traffic laws. If we want to fix the system to correct abuses, fine, but the idea that we should ignore if someone is speeding or running a red light because there isn’t an actual police officer present is wrong. Automated traffic systems help catch people breaking traffic laws. If people don’t want to get tickets for running a red light or for speeding, then don’t break the law. It’s simple, fix any abuses and keep catching people driving unsafely.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1099

HB19-1138 Vehicle Transfer Registration Fee Credit (Williams, Priola) [Williams, Melton]

AMENDED: Technical

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Currently someone who sells their vehicle before the registration year ends is eligible for a prorated tax credit on the annual tax on the vehicle, which is applied to a subsequent registration. This bill extends the prorated credit to cover registration fees.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Just makes sense that if we are going to credit someone the taxes they paid but ultimately did not use (because the vehicle was sold) that we should also credit the registration fees. It is the exact same principle: paid for the whole year but didn’t use it.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1138

HB19-1157 Modify Specific Ownership Tax Rates [Liston]

KILLED BY BILL SPONSOR

Short Description:

Increases the vehicle registration tax on cars 6-8 and 10-24 years-old by expanding the fee categories and uses the new money raised for the state highway fund.

Long Description:

Increases the vehicle registration tax on cars 5-8 and 10-24 years-old by expanding the fee categories and uses the new money raised for the state highway fund. Increases are as follows: 5, from .45% of taxable value to .80%; 6, from .45% to .70%; 7, from .45% to .60%; 8, from .45% to .50%; 10-15, from $3 to .35%; 16-24, from $3 to .25%. The state highway fund must put the money in its second stream bin for allocation to the state, counties, and municipalities. This allows it to be used for state highways, county roads, and municipal streets.


Arguments For:

We have a massive backlog of state highway projects, in the billions of dollars, and still have not found a solution to the problem. The general assembly refuses to make this a priority by diverting general fund money and taxpayers have refused an increase in the state sales tax. This takes a fee structure that clumps too many years together in a sharply divergent scale and simply smooths it out. Rather than jumping from .90% in year 4 to .45% in year 5 and then staying there all the way to year 9 before diving all the way down to $3, this bill goes from .90% in year 4 to $3 in year 25 in a gradual manner. Beyond simply making sense, this allows us to get some desperately needed revenue for our roads.

Arguments Against:

This finds money for our roads in one of the most regressive ways possible: by increasing the fees people pay on older cars. Generally, people have older cars because they can’t afford to go out and buy new ones every couple of years. This rate change will hit these people much harder than the wealthier folks who never even see the year 5 rate bracket. The additional $80 million in revenue estimated in 2020-21 is going to come on the backs of these folks, not the wealthy people in the state with their shiny new cars.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1157

HB19-1181 Livery Transportation Authority Service Regulation (Todd) [Gray]

KILLED BY BILL SPONSOR

Goal: To move non-limousine livery service into its own regulated category from its current regulated home of luxury limousine services.

Short Description:

Creates a livery transportation registration that applies to prearranged livery transportation in and from certain counties in the state with a fleet of three or more vehicles each with a retail price of at least $35,000, with some exceptions. Vehicles must past annual inspections, carry certain levels of insurance, and must be no more than 15 years old with some exceptions. Drivers must provide proof of medical fitness, pass a background check, and adhere to hours-of-service regulations.

Long Description:

Creates a livery transportation registration that applies to prearranged livery transportation in and from certain counties in the state with a fleet of three or more vehicles each with a retail price of at least $35,000, with some exceptions. Registration costs $500 and the fee can be increased up to 10% every three years.

Counties Are: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Garfield, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, Pitkin, and Weld. If the fleet owner maintains a physical address in Garfield or Pitkin counties they only need two vehicles with a retail price of at least $35,000.

Vehicles must past annual inspections unless they have less than 5,000 miles on their odometer, carry certain levels of insurance based on seating capacity, and must be more than 15 years old unless they are a stretch limousine, an executive van, or a van with an enhanced interior (nicer chairs, electronics, other amenities).

Drivers must provide proof of medical fitness, pass a background check, and adhere to hours-of-service regulations: no more than 15 consecutive hours on duty or 10 hours of consecutive driving; no more than 70 hours of driving within any 8 day period.

Livery cars must adhere to same regulations as luxury limousines in regards to advertising (none allowed on exterior) and staying a minimum distance away from taxi stands, pick-up and drop-off points at airports, and hotels and motels.


Arguments For:

The luxury limousine category is far too restricted for livery vehicles that are not actually limousines. From needing to be ten years old or newer and one of a list of very specific makes and models, the rules hinder the operation of these vehicles. This new category will allow appropriate usage (by ensuring that there are vehicles plural and they are of reasonable quality) and ensure that the fleet and drivers are fit for use in this manner.

Arguments Against:

This bill goes much further than the luxury limousine rules in terms of restricting driver usage, requiring levels of insurance, restricting county usage, and requiring multiple vehicles. It manages to be both less restrictive and yet too restrictive at the same time.

What’s wrong with having some standards for vehicles in livery transport? This isn’t Uber or Lyft, people are expecting a certain standard from this category and that is the precise reason we have such precise rules. It should stay that way.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1181

HB19-1198 Electric Vehicle Grant Fund (Bridges, Priola) [A. Valdez, D. Valdez]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To allow the Colorado Energy Office to more efficiently run the electric vehicle grant fund.

Description:

Allows the Colorado Energy Office to use the electric vehicle grant fund for the administrative costs of charging station grants, to prioritize grants based on its own developed criteria, and to help offset charging station operating costs in particularly advantageous locations. Also continuously funds the program rather than having it subject to annual appropriations.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

The original law is a little restrictive in what it allows the Energy Office to do. First, it cannot fund the costs of actually administering its charging station grants. The money for that has to come from somewhere and it should come from within this program, not elsewhere in the budget. Second, the office cannot set its own prioritization criteria. It is common for state laws to allow departments some flexibility in setting any grant or distribution of state resources requirements because we recognize that legislators cannot think of everything. Third, the program allows the office to support the full cost of particularly advantageous locations where other revenues are unlikely to help but it does not allow for the continued support of these stations, which is likely to leave them inoperable. Finally the bill gives a continuing funding stream to provide a steadier rock with which to build this critical program. Achieving a denser network of charging stations is crucial to the wider adoption of electric vehicles we need to drastically lower our emissions and to combat climate change. The entire industry needs a boost to get off the ground quickly.

Arguments Against:

This is more favoritism of a particular industry in order to push societal goals that are not shared by all Coloradans. If someone wants an electric car, fine, no one is stopping them. If someone wants to open an electric car charging station because they think it makes economic sense, good, more power to them. But we should not be tipping the scales in the market in favor of these stations and certainly should not be propping up stations that can’t even support themselves.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1198

HB19-1199 Colorado Clean Pass Act (Pettersen, Winter) [A. Valdez]

AMENDED: Minor

KILLED BY BILL SPONSOR

Goal: To increase the number of electric vehicles that can use high occupancy vehicle lanes for free and express toll lanes at a reduced rate.

Description:

The bill phases in larger numbers of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles that can use HOV lanes for free and express tolls at a reduced rate, regardless of number of people in car, up to a maximum of 120,000 in 2024. Starting in 2022 owners will have to pay a $35 fee in order to use this program. Drivers can only stay in the program through the 3rd annual registration of the vehicle. The department of transportation is authorized to temporarily suspend the program if it is interfering with the level of service for other bona fide users of these lanes or if the express lane program is violating or will violate its debt agreements.

Additional Details:

There are currently 2,000 of these permits with no annual registration limits. These driver’s permits expire on their next registration after July 1, 2022. The limits phase in as follows: 10,000 by end of 2020, 20,000 by end of 2021, 40,000 by end of 2022, 80,000 by end of 2023, and 120,000 by end of 2024.


Arguments For:

The faster we can get drivers into electric and hybrid vehicles the better for our air quality and our efforts to combat climate change. This program is way too small right now to make any difference whatsoever in a decision to buy one of these vehicles (and it is full anyway). We need a bigger incentive and what better one than the ability to zip along in an express or HOV lane in high traffic conditions. This of course has to be balanced against the need for these lanes to still operate as high-speed lanes, so the program needs a cap. It also has to balance against the need for the state to fund its highway projects through the tolls and fees, thus there is still a fee, though it is ½ price, and an annual fee as well.

Arguments Against:

This may cost the state more money than the fiscal note imagines. The note is assuming less than $35 worth of tolls lost by cars using this program. The $35 number is key because it is the cost of the fee to join the program beginning in 2022. While some people may be OK with actually spending more money on the registration than they would have spent on tolls, it seems unlikely that this would be widespread. The fiscal note estimate is also based on our current operating express lanes, so it already is not looking at the lost revenue from future lanes (which are coming). This program also may choke these “express” lanes. There are only 2,000 of these permits right now, imagine adding another 100,000 cars that could use these lanes at reduced prices. Of course the bill provides for this, since it would violate federal law if the express lanes were no longer express, but imagine the mass confusion of when you could or couldn’t use these lanes with this permit that you have paid money for. It could be a recipe for disaster.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1199

HB19-1207 Winter Conditions and Traction Control Requirements (Donovan, Rankin) [Roberts]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To make winter driving in the mountains safer.

Description:

Allows the department of transportation to restrict access to I-70 between Morrison and Dotsero to vehicles with one or more of the following: chains or alternative traction devices, four-wheel or all-wheel drive with tires that have at least 3/16 of an inch of depth, or snow tires. Requires interim meeting of committee with CDOT and highway patrol to discuss how to implement enforcement.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

Driving in the mountains during dangerous conditions is simply not safe for front wheel or rear wheel drive cars that don’t have snow tires or chains or traction devices. That these cars can still travel in this corridor now increases the danger not only to them, but to everyone. Part of living in Colorado is dealing with our winter weather conditions, and safety always takes priority over convenience.

Arguments Against:

This discriminates against lower-income Coloradans who cannot afford to simply replace their car or buy snow tires or any other way of gaining more traction. It will remove the ability for these folks to enjoy the mountains during the winter at times and places the blame for winter weather accidents in the wrong place. Far too often it is the foolish drivers who think their four wheel drive or snow tires makes them immune for winter weather conditions that actually cause accidents. Driving slowly and carefully is worth much, much, more than the car you are in.

This doesn’t go far enough. What about 285? US6? There are numerous roads in the dangerous parts of the Continental Divide area that should also have this restriction.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1207

HB19-1209 Aeronautical Reporting Requirements (Bridges) [Froelich, A. Valdez] TECHNICAL BILL

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To remove the superfluous on-time and denied boarding reporting requirement for intrastate air travel.

Description:

Removes requirement that air carriers providing service inside the state file semiannual reports on their on-time performance and number of passengers denied boarding on their intrastate flights. This information is already reported federally.

HB19-1221 Regulation of Electric Scooters (Bridges, Pettersen) [Coleman, A. Valdez]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To regulate electric scooters just like electric bicycles.

Description:

Removes electric scooters from the toys category and places them in the motor vehicles category, which authorizes their use on roadways. Gives electric scooters same rights and restrictions as electric bicycles. Requires local government to treat electric scooters in the same manner they treat electric bicycles.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

The devices are functionally similar, propelling the rider at low speeds, and the larger adoption of these scooters in urban areas means we need to get serious about treating them like motor vehicles and not toys. That means there are a host of traffic regulations they must follow and it means we can get more of them off sidewalks and onto streets. Anywhere we think it is fine to have a bicycle is going to fine for an electric scooter. These are perfect alternatives to using an automobile for short distance trips within urban areas and we should be encouraging a better way to integrate their usage.

Arguments Against:

Scooters are not bikes, even if they are similar. They are more dangerous to operate, less easy to spot for drivers, and too frequently ride-share scooters end up haphazardly discarded all over cities. There is a reason that videos of people destroying scooters have become popular on the Internet. We need to crackdown on scooter regulations, not just nudge them into the roads so we can stop terrorizing pedestrians on sidewalks.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1221

HB19-1255 Mesa Verde National Park License Plate (Coram, Zenzinger) [Hansen, Catlin]

AMENDED: Technical

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To create a special Mesa Verde National Park license plate to help the park.

Description:

Creates a special Mesa Verde National Park license plate, which requires a donation to a non-profit selected by the state that helps the park and two one-time payments of $25, one to pay for the special plate and one to the state highway fund.

Additional Information:

No set donation minimum is in the bill, but the non-profit may establish one so long as it is between $25 and $75. Non-profit must have been in existence for at least 20 years, help promote the stewardship of the park, fund capital improvements and other rehabilitation projects within the park, and help fund educational programs that promote the park, and have donated land to the park’s boundaries.


Arguments For:

These special license plates are a win-win-win. This one lets people show their support for Mesa Verde, gets money to the state highway fund, and helps support Mesa Verde.

Arguments Against:

We already have too many of these plates, we don’t need more.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1255

HB19-1265 Right-Of-Way for Snowplows in Echelon Formation (Rankin, Winter) [Esgar, Soper]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To increase the penalty for passing snowplows in echelon formation.

Description:

Increases the penalty for recklessly passing snowplows operating in echelon formation (staggered diagonally) from a Class B traffic infraction to a Class A traffic infraction. Class B infractions do not carry the imposition of points from department of motor vehicles on a license (and fines are higher).

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

This is an extremely dangerous situation, when operating plows are sending snow flying and road conditions are treacherous. People absolutely should exercise extreme caution attempting to pass the plows and not doing so merits a stiffer punishment than other passing authorized service vehicles in a reckless manner offenses.

Arguments Against:

Yes this is a dangerous situation but it doesn't merit special treatment over the other dangerous situations of recklessly passing authorized service vehicles.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1265

HB19-1298 Electric Motor Vehicle Charging Station Parking (Priola) [Melton]

AMENDED: Technical

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To prevent people from blocking electric vehicle charging stations if they are not using them.

Description:

Authorizes owner of plug-in electric vehicle charging station to install a sign that identifies the station. If this sign is present, people are prohibited from parking in the space if the vehicle is not an electric vehicle and electric vehicles are prohibited from parking there if the vehicle is not charging. Electric vehicles parked without being attached to the charging station for 30 minutes are presumed to not be charging. The electric vehicle can stay in the spot after it is fully charged if the lot serves a lodging business and the person is staying there and parked the vehicle to charge overnight, if it serves an airport and the person parked the vehicle to charge while traveling, or between the hours of 11 PM and 5 AM. Penalty for violations is $500 fine and $64 surcharge.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

This is pretty basic. These charging stations are for electric vehicles to charge. We have few enough of these stations without cars taking up the space and not using them. It is therefore in the public interest to have these stations open and available for use. The exceptions are reasonable.

Arguments Against:

Individual parking lot owners should be able to make this determination on their own, without state mandates.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1298

HB19-1300 Vehicle Identification Number Inspection Fee (Cooke, Pettersen) [Gray, Landgraf]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To raise the vehicle identification number inspection fee and index it to inflation.

Description:

Raises the fee for a police officer to conduct a certified vehicle identification number inspection from $20 to $50 and provides for the fee to be adjusted annually for inflation. Limits the number of years a police officer must certify the number for in the future to three years.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

Just trying to keep up with inflation here, and then rather than having to go back and change the fee manually, have it automatically keep up in the future.

Arguments Against:

There is value in having to revisit fees rather than having automatic increases. It’s the same reason we have the sunset review process. Revisiting the fees provides an opportunity to revisit the program. In this case the three year certification limit was a benefit of that examination.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1300

HB19-1321 Electronic Verification of Identification for a Motor Vehicle Rental (Priola) [Coleman, Williams]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To modernize the rules around driver’s license examination for rental cars.

Description:

Removes requirement that inspection of driver’s license for someone renting a car be done in their presence and allows it to be done electronically. Also removes requirement that renter records date license was issued and allows renter to keep license records electronically.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

It’s 2019, we can use electronic verification of driver’s licenses and keep the records electronically as well.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1321

HB19-1325 Electric Car Manufacturers May Sell Directly to Consumers (Priola, Bridges) [Hansen, McKean]

KILLED ON HOUSE FLOOR

Goal: To allow electric vehicle manufacturers to operate dealerships.

Description:

Allows any electric motor vehicle manufacturer to operate a motor vehicle dealership in the state.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

Right now electric motor vehicles cannot sell their cars directly to consumers at a physical location, with a one store exception. Any Tesla shop you see in a mall or other location that isn’t in Park Meadows is just a showroom, you cannot purchase a car there, you can only buy one online. This is anti-consumer and overly protectionist for traditional car manufacturers and dealers. Given our stark need to get more zero-emissions vehicles on the road, it also hurts our ability to have clean air and fight climate change.

Arguments Against:

This really should be called the Tesla May Sell Directly to Consumers because there is only one pure electric car manufacturer in Colorado that would be affected by this law. Tesla seems to be doing just fine under the current rules, and in fact, you’ll notice that other car manufacturers do not sell directly to you, they work through dealerships. Tesla just doesn’t want to have a 3rd party in-between, that is their choice.

We should remove the prohibition on manufacturers operating their own dealerships entirely. Why do we have a protected middleman that has long since served its purpose for car manufacturers? All the dealers do is skim some money off the sale, raising the prices of cars for everyone.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1325

SB19-012 Use of Mobile Electronic Devices While Driving (Court) [Melton]

AMENDED: Minor

KILLED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Current law prohibits use of wireless telephones while driving for those under 18. This bill extends the prohibition to drivers of all ages and increases the definition to all mobile electronic devices. It creates an exemption for hands-free usage for those over 18, keeps the emergency exemption, and sets penalties starting at $300 $50. Also adds exemption for mobile device usage that is required by an employer to fulfill job duties and using a mobile device to communicate with a medical device. Clarifies that mobile devices can be used while a car is parked or at rest on a shoulder.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Driving while using a mobile device has been shown to be as dangerous as driving drunk. There is no reason adults should be allowed to engage in this activity either. Hands-free usage exemptions allow us to still make use of our phones, almost all of which now feature digital assistants like Siri that can take dictation.

Arguments Against:

Mobile phones are an integral part of our lives and the government should not be nanny stating them out during specified times or activities. Drivers are more than capable of using them properly without becoming distracted and those who do should not be punished because there are some people who cannot. In addition, there are numerous activities people do in cars that are distracting, from eating to fiddling with the radio to putting on makeup. We should not criminalize any of these activities. The bill also opens up more potential avenues for racial profiling by giving another excuse to pull someone over.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-012

SB19-017 Requirements for CDOT Land Acquisitions (Zenzinger) [Roberts]

From the Transportation Legislation Review Committee

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Currently CDOT can only acquire land to alter state highways or add mass transit after its chief engineer provides a written report and the transportation commission approves. The bill makes it so that CDOT only needs to go through that process if it is condemning land. If it is purchasing or exchanging land, no approval is needed.

Long Description: N/A

Arguments For:

This has actually been the state of affairs for years. In the 90s the transportation commission, tired of constantly having to approve land deals, directed CDOT to act on its behalf. For 20 years CDOT had been doing this until a 2016 state Supreme Court decision said the commission could not delegate its authority. So this bill simply fixes matters back to the way things had been working (just fine), with the clarification that if condemnation is needed, then the transportation commission does need to approve.

Arguments Against:

The state Supreme Court ruling should be leading us back toward the proper way of doing things, not letting CDOT make land transactions without some sort of oversight and approval. This bill instead puts the wrong state of affairs into law.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-017

SB19-018 Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Age (Scott, Marble) [McLachlan, Saine]

From the Transportation Legislation Review Committee

AMENDED: Technical

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Allows the state to adopt rules authorizing someone who is between the ages of 18 and 21 to be licensed to drive a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce if the individual is permitted to do so by federal law and has a commercial driver’s license.

Long Description: N/A

Arguments For:

If someone in this age group already has a commercial license and federal law permits them to drive interstate, there is no reason why Colorado should be preventing them from doing so. All that does is narrow someone’s employment options for no good reason.

Arguments Against:

We have age-related driving regulations for a reason and it’s the same reason we don’t let people purchase alcohol until they are 21. The brain is still developing at that age and decision making just isn’t as strong. Interstate driving is a much different task than driving inside Colorado, where you can get from one spot to another in one day. This could involve multiple days and a lot more judgment required on stopping when tired, etc.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-018

SB19-032 Hazardous Materials Transportation Routing (Scott) [McCluskie]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Allows public highway authority or governmental partner in public-private partnership to apply for a new or modified hazardous materials route designation. Also requires the department of transportation to conduct a feasibility study for transporting hazardous materials through the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnel.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Those responsible for maintaining a road should be able to petition to allow hazardous materials to be transported on it. The current restriction on hazardous materials at all times at the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnel is a great strain on tunnel operations because when Loveland pass is closed the tunnel itself gets shutdown every hour to allow hazardous materials through. It is also much more dangerous to force these big trucks onto Loveland pass and there are accidents up there every year. It is worth at least studying.

Arguments Against:

The fire suppression system in the tunnels, while improved, is not designed to handle the fire from a large tanker hauling gasoline. There are very few tunnels in the entire world that permit hazardous materials to flow through at all times. This issue has been studied already and does not need to be again.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-032

SB19-051 Increase General Fund Funding for Transportation (Scott, Cooke)

KILLED BY BILL SPONSOR

Short Description:

Increases the 2019 budget funding for transportation from $150 million to $340 million and changes the percentage breakdown of the money as follows: state highway fund from 70% to 78%, counties and municipalities the same 15%, multimodal from 15% to 7%.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

The state still faces a gigantic, multi-billion dollar shortfall in highway transportation funding just to keep with our current infrastructure. The failure of the sales tax increase bill in the recent election shows that voters want our state to take care of this need through existing money, not through tax increases. Furthermore, the state is looking at around a $1 billion budget surplus this year (unexpected extra money). This is more than enough to increase our commitment to fixing our highways and easing our traffic congestion while still taking care of our schools and other priorities. Because of the surplus this money will not result in cuts anywhere in the budget.

Arguments Against:

Voters also rejected a large bonding measure that would have resulted in general fund money going toward transportation, so they did not approve a large increase in transportation money at the expense of other areas of the budge either. The $1 billion surplus is not actually going to be $1 billion to the state. First TABOR has to take its share, and the estimate there is that we are going to have a $380 million refund (part of which does go to schools). So we’re starting lower. And the state still owes our school districts $672 million, this is money that the schools are constitutionally required to have, but the state was unable to pay due to the last recession. Half of our districts are on 4 day weeks and 1 in 5 teachers work a second job to make ends meet. The current estimate is that due to the Gallagher rules, property taxes statewide are going to drop, which means local governments will have less money for schools and the state will have to kick in even more just to stay where we are, possibly more than $100 million more (again this will balance a bit against the TABOR refund). So to say that taking more of the surplus money for transportation doesn’t cut anywhere else is technically accurate, but ignores the larger picture. We will have another recession. It is inevitable. What happens to our schools then if we haven’t made up the negative factor? We need to pay our schools the money they are owed, then worry about our other priorities.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-051

SB19-076 CDOT Colorado Department of Transportation Consulting Engineer Contracts (Scott) [Rich, D. Valdez]

AMENDED: Very significant

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Requires the department of transportation to procure study procuring construction management and engineering services to be provided by a consulting engineer through a fixed bid process. The department is banned from paying a consulting engineer by the hour.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Right now the department typically pays by the hour for these services, which gives the consultant the incentive to work as many hours as possible, which runs contrary to interests of the department and its general contractor to finish the project as soon as possible. It is typical to require fixed bids for defined projects, indeed that is what we ask of our general contractors on these projects. This bill will save the state money and time. The bill merely asks the state to take a look and see if this will save us money and time.

Arguments Against:

It is not typical to use fixed bids for indefinite services, which is what this sort of engineering consultant work can be. It is no accident that these services are typically done by the hour right now. This bill puts an unfair burden on both the contractor and the engineer to understand too much about the project in advance. There is no need to study the issue.

We don't need to study this, it should save the state money and time and we should just do it, as the original bill text intended.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-076

SB19-077 Electric Motor Vehicles Public Utility Services (Priola, Williams) [Hansen]

AMENDED: Moderate

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Allows cost recovery for public utility resellers of electricity and natural gas for charging ports or refueling stations, allowing for a return on investment for a utility that builds a facility to support alternative fuel vehicles. The rate is set at the same recent rate of return weighted average cost of capital approved by the public utilities commission and must be recovered from customers in a similar manner to distribution system investments. It cannot exceed 0.5% of annual revenue for the utility.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

One of the biggest barriers to adoption of alternative fuels for vehicles is the lack of recharge/refuel infrastructure. Allowing public utilities to get the same sort of return that they do on other power distribution systems should unlock innovation in this sector and may even position Colorado at the forefront of what will most definitely be a rapid growth sector. Just think about how many gas stations there are right now.

Arguments Against:

The private sector should be able to fill in here if this is truly such a promising avenue. Our system of capitalism works best when it is driven by private companies who see an opportunity in the market and create new products to meet it. It works worst when the government decides there should be a market and sets about making sure products are made under its umbrella. And in this case, the costs subsidizing electric charging stations are going to be borne by non-electric car driving Coloradans in the form of higher energy bills. Furthermore, because this only affects the public energy commission, it only affects two Colorado electricity providers: Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy. This means the only places this bill can build greater charging capacity is in the areas these two serve which leaves wide swaths of the state untouched.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-077

SB19-090 Peer-to-Peer Motor Vehicle Sharing Program (Scott) [Gray]

AMENDED: Moderate

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Creates a framework to regulate peer-to-peer car sharing programs (where owners of vehicles make their vehicles available for others to rent for a short period of time). This includes insurance coverage, the responsibilities of the car sharing program to its car owner members, and requirements to pull a car out of the program if it has an unaddressed safety recall.

Long Description:

Creates a framework to regulate peer-to-peer car sharing programs (where owners of vehicles make their vehicles available for others to rent for a short period of time).

For insurance, this includes: a requirement that the car be insured by either the owner, the driver, or the program with insurance that recognizes the car is being used in a car share; the ability of insurance companies to opt out of insuring the time the car is being used in a car share for the car owner’s private insurance; and a prohibition on insurance companies refusing insurance to an individual because their car is in a car share program, unless the policyholder did not provide complete and accurate information about the plan.

For requirements of the car sharing program: complete records of each usage of a shared car in the program; disclosure to the car owner and driver of the terms and conditions of the agreement; disclose to the driver and owner all costs and fees associated with the rental; provide an emergency telephone number for roadside assistance if the driver needs it; disclose that car sharing program’s insurance is only operable when the car is being used in the program; and be responsible for any equipment required in the car to operate the car inside the program.

For safety recalls, the program must check each new car entered into the system for safety recalls. Owners must pull their car out of the program if they receive a safety recall until it is addressed.

Requires a concession agreement to operate at an airport.


Arguments For:

This is an emerging field, moving beyond companies like Zipcar to a fleet that is not owned by the car share company the person wishing to rent a car transacts with. This opens up a set of tricky questions which this bill addresses. It makes sure a car under one of these programs is safe, has insurance, and that all who are participating are aware of all aspects of the deal. It also delineates for insurance purposes the difference between the car being used in the program and by its owner, as well as protecting owners from losing insurance entirely.

Arguments Against:

Insurance companies should be allowed to refuse to offer their product to a car participating in one of these programs. It’s not just about what could happen while another person is driving the car, it’s also about the greatly increased wear and tear on the car.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-090

SB19-092 Emissions Inspection Check Engine Light (Zenzinger, Cooke) [Tipper, Liston]

KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Specifies that a motor vehicles cannot fail an emissions inspection solely because a check engine light is on.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Check engine lights are notorious for coming on for obscure reasons that have nothing to do with emissions, if a vehicle can pass the test it should not matter if the light is on.

Arguments Against:

The light may be an indicator of a deeper problem in the vehicle that the inspection would not find. This also may be a problem with federal law that is not solvable without a waiver.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-092

SB19-101 Prerequisites for Construction of Managed Lanes (Lundeen) [Carver]

KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Prohibits the department of transportation or any enterprise of the department from constructing or designating a managed lane (express/toll/carpool lane) on a state highway unless they can demonstrate they took safety, productivity, and public cost considerations into account and considered multiple highway configuration options. They must publicly publish a detailed, data-based finding that when compared to the addition of one or more managed lanes all of the alternatives evaluated are unfeasible or too unsafe to be implemented or would not provide adequate capacity expansion and congestion relief.

Long Description:

Prohibits the department of transportation or any enterprise of the department from constructing or designating a managed lane (express/toll/carpool lane) on a state highway unless they can demonstrate they took safety, productivity, and public cost considerations into account and considered multiple highway configuration options. These include narrowing shoulders on existing road to increase number of lanes, converting one or more existing lanes into reversible lanes (function like the express lanes north of Denver on I-25), and optimizing traffic flow through improvements to existing lane structure. They must publicly publish a detailed, data-based finding that when compared to the addition of one or more managed lanes all of the alternatives evaluated are unfeasible or too unsafe to be implemented or would not provide adequate capacity expansion and congestion relief.


Arguments For:

The trend is clear and is troubling. All new lane capacity improvements are coming as toll/carpool lanes. The 36 expansion, I-25 north and south of Denver, I-70 in the mountains and in Denver, and C-470. Instead of traffic relief, our citizens have to decide between spending large amounts of money to get into the toll lane, greatly change their commute by carpooling in some way (if even possible), or give up and use some form of mass transit. It fundamentally favors the wealthier among us who can afford the tolls and zip by while the rest of us have to sit in traffic in the “regular” lanes. Most troubling, the opinion of our residents does not seem to matter at all. The department takes public feedback and then ignores it and creates these managed lanes anyway. If the managed lane is an absolute necessity, so be it, but we need to make sure it is and that these are not being used as a massive social-engineering project to get more people off the roads. It is the not the job of the department of transportation to force transportation choice onto our citizens.

Arguments Against:

The reality is that without express lanes all of those recent projects would not have existed at all. These lanes are generating billions of dollars in revenue which allows the state to repay loans and bonds and start new projects. Five of seven recent state highway grants were awarded by the federal government precisely because they were express lane projects. The department has estimated that instead of 8 highway projects in five years, we would have been stuck at 1 or two. And that is the central problem of this bill, it considers each project in a vacuum, where you can argue that in this specific case the express lanes are not necessary but fail to take into consideration the larger picture where express lanes let us to do 8 projects at once instead of 1 or 2. For example, the I-25 expansion to Fort Collins would not have been possible under traditional funding until 2035. By using express lanes (and getting $15 million of federal funding), it will be done in 2021. The final important argument to consider is this: we have years of experience in increasing capacity of highways with regular lanes and years of failure when it comes to reducing traffic congestion. Increased lanes leads to increased traffic. Multiple studies have found that the new capacity is quickly eaten up by new drivers, from 70-100% of the new capacity. We saw this with T-Rex on I-25. Of course no one likes paying a toll or carpooling or taking mass transit when they don’t want to. But it is the only real solution to our capacity problems.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-101

SB19-139 More Colorado Road and Community Safety Act Offices (Coram, Moreno) [Galindo, Singer]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To increase the number of locations that issue identification documents to those temporarily or not lawfully present in Colorado.

Short Description:

Requires the department of revenue to have at least 10 different offices geographically distributed throughout the state that can issue identification documents to those temporarily or not lawfully present in Colorado. If nothing is done, the number of offices will likely shrink to one, due to part of the original program which dictated going to down to one office after 66,000 first-time licenses were issued.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Those who cannot demonstrate lawful presence in the US have to make an appointment at specific offices, they cannot go to any DMV. There are four of these offices right now in Grand Junction, Lakewood, Aurora, and Colorado Springs. People should not have to drive hours to reach one of these offices. Right now these offices can handle 130 1st time and 77 renewal appointments each day, in a state where it is estimated there are more than 100,000 people eligible for this program and even those with these licenses have to renew every three years in-person. These IDs are all about public safety: we want everyone living in this state, legally or illegally, to abide by state laws and most importantly, report any crimes to the police. In the case of driver’s licenses, you of course need a license to purchase car insurance, which we want everyone on the road to have.

Arguments Against:

We cannot as a functioning government of laws set up a bunch of laws relating to immigration and then build an entire structure devoted to making sure that people who are breaking these immigration laws are nice and comfortable here in the United States. Widening this sanctuary ID program makes it easier for illegals to stay in Colorado and that in turn makes it more likely illegals will come here. All of this stuff makes it harder for federal immigration agents to their job and get illegals out of this country.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-139

SB19-144 Motorcyclists and Malfunctioning Traffic Signals (Zenzinger) [Roberts]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To allow motorcycles to treat traffic lights that do not recognize they are there like malfunctioning lights.

Description:

Gives motorcycles the ability to treat a traffic light that does not recognize the motorcycle for two minutes or more like a malfunctioning light (treat like a four-way stop intersection).

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

Traffic signals that are triggered by waiting cars (rather than running on timers) sometimes do not recognize motorcycles. This gives them the chance to move through the intersection safely without breaking any traffic laws as the light is not going to change unless another car comes along to trigger it.

Arguments Against:

The problem with this is that in a real malfunctioning light scenario traffic going perpendicular to you can see the malfunctioning light and will expect everyone to treat it like a four-way stop. In the case where the light is just not recognizing the motorcycle, other traffic will think it is working fine and will not slow down approaching the intersection. This could be a recipe for dangerous accidents.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-144

SB19-167 Honor Colorado Professional Fire Fighters (Danielson) [Exum, Duran]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To create a license plate to honor professional fire fighters.

Description:

Creates a special professional fire fighters license plate. To get the plate, an individual must be a current or former professional fire fighter and provide a donation to an organization, chosen by the state every five years, which supports Colorado fire fighters. There are also the usual special license plate one-time $25 payments (one to department of revenue and one to the state highway fund).

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

These special license plates are a win-win-win, they provide funds for the state highway fund and they allow individuals to honor, in this case, professional fire fighters, and they provide support to a nonprofit aiding fire fighters. There is also already a license plate for fire fighters (both professional and volunteer), for which all you need to get the place is to be a firefighter.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-167

SB19-205 Honor Service of Women Veterans (Danielson, Zenzinger) [Michaelson Jenet, Duran]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To create a special license plate to honor women veterans.

Description:

Creates a license plate to honor women veterans of the armed forces. Only honorably discharged women are eligible for the plate. It requires two one-time $25 fees, one for the cost of the plate and one to state highway fund.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

These special plates are a nice way to raise some extra funds for the state highway fund and this one honors our trailblazing female veterans.

Arguments Against:

We already have too many of these plates, we don’t need to be adding more.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-205

SB19-206 Sunset Standing Efficiency Accountability Committee (Priola, Tate) [Exum, Froelich]

KILLED BY BILL SPONSOR

Goal: To implement the recommendation of the state department of regulatory agencies and end the standing efficiency accountability committee.

Description:

Ends the standing efficiency accountability committee, which was tasked with ensuring efficiency and compliance with state and federal laws within the department of transportation.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

From the state department of regulatory agencies’ sunset review report: “The Accountability Committee has reviewed the findings of the FASTER audit, and has discussed several issues related to the efficiency and processes of CDOT operations. To date, no additional work recommendations have been established by the Accountability Committee, and the tasks mandated in statute have been completed. If CDOT requires additional assistance in the future, an ad hoc committee could be established in order to perform specifically identified tasks. Therefore, the General Assembly should sunset the Accountability Committee.”

Arguments Against:

We already disbanded this committee in 2013 and then had to reestablish it in 2016. Odds are that we will again find areas in the department of transportation that need greater efficiency or alignment with changing federal law.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-206

SB19-239 Address Impacts of Transportation Changes (Winter, Bridges) [Gray, Hansen]

AMENDED: Minor

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To create a commission to study how to best address impacts of transportation changes in Colorado.

Description:

Creates a large commission organized by the department of transportation to examine the economic, environmental, and transportation system impacts of adoption of new and emerging transportation technologies and businesses, specifically ride and car sharing and more widespread adoption of zero-emission vehicles. Commission is to look at potential fees upon commercial motor vehicles (does not include business-to-business transportation or transporting passengers) to fund positive inducements and mitigate negative impacts.

Additional Information:

Commercial vehicles are specifically defined here as those transporting goods to the end-consumer or individuals or rentals of a car from owner. Does not include delivering goods to someone who is not the end-user or transporting passengers (mass transportation).

Commission is to:

  • Quantify amount of carbon emissions produced by commercial vehicles and amount that can be eliminated through different means of incentivizing or support use of zero-emission vehicles
  • Examine effects of incentivizing multiple occupant trips by commercial vehicles
  • Identification of additional transportation infrastructure, including multimodal and zero-emission infrastructure, to accommodate impacts of increasing commercial vehicle usage
  • Evaluate how rules that ensure public the driver is fit to drive and safe are working
  • Identify fees and appropriate fee structures that must be structured to avoid causing the state to breach the TABOR cap while achieving the commission’s goals. Must be only on business entities

Commission comprised of:

  • Two CDOT employees, employee of state energy office, employee of department of revenue
  • Representative of statewide organization that represents counties
  • Representative of statewide organization that represents cities
  • A representative of an urban and one of a rural planning organization
  • Representative of public transit providers
  • Two transportation network company representatives and representative of a business that can create and administer a road usage charge program
  • Representative of a taxi carrier, one of a rental car company, one of a peer-to-peer car sharing company, and one of a non peer-to-peer car sharing company
  • Representative of the trucking industry
  • Representative of contracting industry that works on transportation projects and one of the construction industry
  • Representative of package delivery industry and one of an business that hires drivers to use their own vehicles to deliver packages
  • Representative of the automobile industry
  • Labor representative, one for people with disabilities, and one for the environment
  • A transportation network company driver


Arguments For:

Ride-sharing in particular, and car sharing to a lesser degree, displaces use of public transportation, which increases the amount of congestion and pollution coming from cars on the roads. A study from the University of California Transportation Center found that nearly ½ of respondents said that if ride-sharing had been unavailable, they would have taken a bus, train, bike, or simply walked. A different study found that number to be 61% while San Francisco saw its ridership on its public train to the airport decline significantly while Uber and Lyft saw nearly six-fold increases in airport trips. With no real limits on the number of these cars out on the roads we have the recipe for disaster, in terms of traffic and emissions. So we need to take a hard look at the impact, both positive (ride sharing can be a good thing too) and negative and figure out how we can make the industry that is causing the problems part of the solution, as well as incentivize zero-emissions cars (at least solving part of the problem) and multiple passenger sharing.

Arguments Against:

You can’t force people to use mass transit. As much as some people want others to stop using cars or to stop driving places by themselves, ultimately in a free country it is our choice. And if businesses crop up that provide an easier way for people to do that, it is just the free market at work. What this bill is proposing is to look for ways to intrude in the market to increase fees on certain types of behavior the bill views as bad (using a gasoline car from Uber or Lyft instead of mass transit or a zero-emissions vehicle), to interfere in this free market and make it harder for Coloradans who don’t want to take the bus or the light rail (or frankly, can’t). If there are legitimate free market issues with Uber or Lyft (such as predatory subsidized pricing) then let’s look at those, not try to rig the market to some people’s liking.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-239

SB19-256 Electronic Documents Motor Vehicle Appropriation (Bridges) [Esgar] TECHNICAL BILL

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To continue appropriating money to implement House bill 18-1299, which allowed state to implement system to allow electronic transmission of registration, lien, and titling information for motor vehicles.

Description:

Renews appropriation of $1.1 million to implement HB18-1299 for 2019-20 fiscal year (was not spent last year) and allows department to spend any appropriated money not yet spent in the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Additional Information: n/a

SB19-263 Delay Referral of TRANs Transportation Revenue Anticipation Notes Ballot Issue to 2020 (Zenzinger, Rankin) [Gray, Hansen]

AMENDED: Technical

SIGNED INTO LAW

Goal: To delay the ballot measure asking voters for $2.3 billion in transportation bonds from the 2019 ballot to the 2020 ballot.

Description:

Delays the $2.3 billion transportation bond measure due to be on the 2019 ballot to the 2020 ballot. This measure was scheduled to appear due to the failure of the two transportation funding measures on last year’s ballot and would ask the voters to approve $2.3 billion in bonds, and thus cancel out lease-purchase agreements on state buildings to generate money for roads. This bill also reduces the total amount of bonds to $1.8 billion (to reflect the $500 million that should be generated this year from lease-purchase agreements) and adds an additional year to the $50 million in general fund money required to go to transportation (from 20 to 21), again reflecting the delay.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

That $500 million in lease-purchase agreements would have been put on hold for this year while we waited for the ballot measure and the 2019 ballot is already going to be clogged with revenue measures: ending TABOR caps, new taxes on cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and legalizing sports betting. This gives us more breathing room to fully consider the impact of the failed measures from last year (sales tax increase and simple bonding measure) and doesn’t halt any current progress under the lease-purchase agreement model.

Arguments Against:

The delay here represents yet another sign that transportation is not a high enough priority at the state capital. Why don’t we delay one of the shiny new objects instead, if there is a concern about backlog at the ballot box? This was part of a bipartisan agreement in the last session and that agreement should be honored.

The voters have spoken: the bonding effort from the 2018 ballot that would have pushed more money into transportation without any new revenue (thus taking it from other sources like schools and health care) was handily defeated. We should cancel this measure entirely and just continue on with the lease-purchase agreement model.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-263

SCR19-003 Replace Motor Fuel Taxes with Additional Sales Tax (Priola) [Gray]

KILLED BY BILL SPONSOR

Goal: To replace the primary source of funding for our highways, the gas tax, with sales tax by constitutional amendment.

Description:

Places a constitutional measure on the ballot of the 2020 election to require general assembly to enact a law that will repeal all gas taxes except for aviation fuel by July 1, 2021, and levy additional state sales and use taxes calculated to replace 99% of the lost revenue from the gas tax. This additional sales and use tax revenue must go the state highway fund just as the gas tax does now. This revenue is exempt from TABOR limits.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

The gas tax is a dying source of revenue for our highways. And it is for good reasons: our cars are becoming more and more energy efficient and we have more and more alternative fuel vehicles on the roads that do not pollute our air. But this is putting our roads in dire straits. We need billions of additional revenue right now, how is that picture going to look as the funds from the gas tax keep decreasing? So we need a replacement revenue stream that will not run afoul of TABOR and will be robust enough to fund our roads into the future while we find other ways to increase overall funding. That is what this amendment would do: keep our current funding level nearly exactly where it is (actually lower by 1%) but shift the way the funds come in to a stable base that is not going to decrease. And the voters get to decide.

Arguments Against:

We do need a replacement for the gas tax but this is not it. First, we need more money, not less, which is what this amendment would provide. 1% may not sound like much, but when it is of $500 million, then losing $5 million makes it a bigger deal. Second, this puts the burden of paying for our roads on everyone, not just the people who use them. Someone with no car pays just as much (or maybe more) in sales tax as someone who drives every day. Third, this lessens the incentive to buy less gas by lowering the price. Fourth, sales taxes are one of the most regressive tools we have in our revenue arsenal. Increasing the cost of goods for everyone in the state by an equal amount hurts those with the fewest resources the most.

We don’t need to replace the gas tax we just need to be willing to actually raise it, something we haven’t done in nearly 30 years (we have the 13th lowest gas tax in the nation). The gas tax is a flat number, $0.22, so of course it doesn’t go as far as it used to. We need to either raise it up to an appropriate amount or change it to a percentage basis so it can keep up with inflation (either would require voter approval).

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SCR19-003