Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, is proposing $3.5 billion of tax revenue anticipation notes that would require voter authorization.

DALLAS - Colorado could issue up to $3.5 billion of tax revenue anticipation notes under a bill that Sen. Randy Baumgardner plans to introduce to the state legislature.

Though called notes, they would carry long term maturities.

A spokeswoman for Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, said the bill had not been introduced as of April 20.

The bill would authorize a November ballot initiative asking statewide voters to approve the TRANs.

House Minority Leader Bill DelGrosso, R-Loveland, said the state could see interest rates around 4% on 20-year TRANs, allowing construction at lower cost. If delayed under pay-as-you-go rules, the state runs the risk of rising construction costs and inflation, DelGrosso told the Denver Business Journal.

Colorado used TRANs to build the $1.67 billion T-Rex project that included widening of Interstate 25 and addition of light rail lines in metro Denver. The TRANS sold in 1999 are scheduled to be paid off in 2016.

When the old TRANs are paid off, the $170 million of annual debt service could go toward new notes, backers of the legislation said.

The bill would allow CDOT to use the $1 billion in general-fund transfers over the next five years for maintenance, a clause that DelGrosso said he believes will get CDOT to drop opposition to the bill.

CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt told the Denver Post that the TRAN bonds would require CDOT to repay them at the expense of expensive road maintenance projects across the state.

"We may have to defer maintenance that has to be done," Bhatt said. "That means roads not being paved or bridges not being maintained. It would be like putting on a new addition to your home but putting off repairing your roof."

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