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Colorado Still Short Cash and Ideas to Fix its Roads

Colorado's roads and highways are in poor repair—the state of transportation was even called a 'quiet crisis' ten years ago. The problems persist, as does the state's lack of funding to fix the problem.
May 22, 2017, 12pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"A decade ago, then-[Colorado] Gov. Bill Ritter assembled a bipartisan commission to study an issue of growing concern to state leaders: transportation," writes Brian Eason. "But a decade later, Colorado spends even less than it did then."

"The state faces $9 billion in unfunded highway projects over the next decade, on top of unmet needs at the local level," explains Eason. "The state’s roads have deteriorated from a B rating in 2007 to a C- today. At current maintenance levels, the pavement’s on a trajectory to get worse."

Planetizen correspondent Irvin Dawid reported earlier in May about the Colorado State Legislature's failure to reach bipartisan support for transportation funding. The end of the legislative session produced only incremental improvement. At the end of the legislative session, when state lawmakers secured $1.9 billion for transportation projects, funding generated by mortgaging state buildings. That $1.9 billion represents the largest infusion of road money since 2009, when the state last increased vehicle fees. A special legislative session suggested by Gov. John Hickenlooper to find a long-term fix has since been called off, and state legislators are not expected to produce a major transportation bill in the 2018 election year.

Which brings us to the headlining point of Eason's reporting. Pressure is building from outside the capital, according to Eason, for a ballot initiative that would bypass the legislature entirely. There is even a "Fix Our Damn Roads" initiative, which states its agenda bluntly.

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