Colorado Legislature poised to delay transportation bond vote, again
June 12, 2020
Both chambers of the Colorado Legislature have approved nearly identical legislation that would again delay a public vote on whether to tap bonds to get done transportation work. The bill awaits one final vote on the House floor before it moves to the governor’s desk.
The bond vote issue has been front and center at the statehouse for three straight regular sessions.
In 2018, the legislature approved legislation to ask voters whether the state should borrow $1.8 billion for infrastructure work. Combined with other investments, the bonds would fund nearly $3 billion in infrastructure improvements over two decades.
One year ago, legislators opted to delay the scheduled November 2019 bond vote to fall 2020. Supporters of tapping bonds to get road and bridge work done cited concern about a growing list of state spending questions on that fall ballot for their pursuit of a delay.
Third time a charm?
A year later, legislators again are pursuing a delay to a public vote as their constituents try to rebound from economic strain due to the coronavirus.
In the past few weeks, the House and Senate have approved nearly identical legislation to once again delay placing the transportation bond question on the ballot.
HB1376 would delay putting the question on the ballot until November 2021.
The bill was amended in the Senate to authorize the state to borrow $1.3 billion in bonds. The introduced version included authorization to borrow $1.8 billion.
Most of the bond money – 85% – would be allotted for state highway projects. Transit would claim 15%.
Additionally, the bill calls for delaying for two years a $50 million general fund transfer to the Colorado Department of Transportation. The transfer would be used to make payments on bonds.