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.

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.

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

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.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1034

 

HB19-1067 Motor Vehicle Window Tint [McLachlan]

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: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1067

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

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.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1072

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

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, keeps the emergency exemption, and sets penalties starting at $300.

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.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-012

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

From the Transportation Legislation Review Committee

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

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]

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)

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)

Short Description:

Requires the department of transportation to procure 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.

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.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-076

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

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 approved by the public utilities commission and must be recovered from customers in a similar manner to distribution system investments.

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.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-077