Policy Roundtable Examines Transportation Funding Ballot Initiatives for the Northwest Region

Our regional and state’s economic vitality depends on an interconnected transportation system that keeps pace with the growth we’re experiencing in Colorado’s Front Range. Thus, the Boulder Chamber has spent much of this year advocating for the funding of transportation improvements that serve our workforce and residents in Boulder County. Governor John Hickenlooper and the Colorado Department of Transportation have heard our appeals, and as a result, specifically included our requested improvements in their priority project list. This has been particularly important as we move towards this fall’s election and anticipate the Colorado ballot will include two transportation funding initiatives that propose different approaches to resolving our state-wide needs.

Along with our partners in the Northwest Chamber Alliance, the Longmont and Boulder Chambers hosted forums to examine the proposed funding initiatives and the implications for our regional projects if Colorado voters are to approve either of the funding initiatives. Note: The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office is still counting petition signatures turned in by backers of the two measures to verify if they will qualify for the ballot.

The two initiatives, and their current titles are:

Initiative 167 — dubbed the “Fix Our Damn Roads Now” measure by its backers — would allow Colorado to issue $3.5 billion in bonds to build road and bridge projects on the state highway system. There would be no tax increase to repay those bonds; that expense would have to be covered from elsewhere in the state budget.

Initiative 153 – Let’s Go Colorado! – proposes to increase the state’s sales tax a little more than half a cent (on a dollar purchase) to raise $6 billion in funding that will go towards Colorado’s backlog of more than $9 billion in projects needing funding. Along with addressing many state needs it includes funding going to specific projects in Boulder County.

One of the major differences between initiatives 153 and 167 is the Let’s Go Colorado measure would allow sales tax revenues to be spent on multimodal transportation infrastructure as well as roads and highways, while money from the Fix Our Damn Roads bond sales could only be spent on roads and bridges with none available for “buses, trolleys, bike lanes, or other transit/multi-modal projects.” Additionally, 40% of revenues generated by the Let’s Go Colorado sales tax would go directly to cities and counties for local transportation projects based on decisions that would be made by the communities, not any state or regional agency.

The solution to address Colorado’s unmet transportation needs is long overdue and the Boulder Chamber will be weighing in.

To learn more please see the following resources, including articles containing quotes from the Boulder Chamber:

Please share your thoughts on these ballot measures by participating in the Member’s Voice Survey Question below, or by directly contacting Boulder Chamber Public Affairs Director Andrea Meneghel at andrea.menghel@boulderchamber.com or (303) 938-2077.

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