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.

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

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED

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, Melton]

AMENDED: Technical

PASSED HOUSE

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]

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]

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]

PASSED HOUSE

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]

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]

PASSED HOUSE

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.

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 [Froelich, A. Valdez] TECHNICAL BILL

PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE COMMITTEE

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]

PASSED HOUSE COMMITTEE

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

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

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED SENATE

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.

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

PASSED

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

PASSED

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)

AMENDED: Very significant

PASSED SENATE

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: Minor

PASSED A HOUSE COMMITTEE

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. 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)

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED SENATE

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.


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

PASSED SENATE COMMITTEE

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

PASSED SENATE COMMITTEE

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]

PASSED A SENATE COMMITTEE

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