Colorado lawmakers are splitting along party lines on support for a road-building initiative called Funding Advancement for Surface Development and Economic Recovery — also known as “Faster.”
In a 21-to-14 vote last week, the Senate approved the measure proposed by Gov. Bill Ritter Jr. as a means of raising revenue through higher fees and boosting the economy by improving highways.
Supporters say the bill could create as many as 8,000 construction jobs. But Republican leaders said in a statement that Democrats “refused to yield on major stumbling blocks in their bill: its high fees, its expanded use of tolls, and ... its lack of fiscal discipline.”
The measure creates a revenue stream for bonds by raising $250 million a year through increasing vehicle registration and car rental fees. The current version, now under consideration in the House, increases vehicle-registration fees by an average of $31 a year for the first year it goes into effect and $42 in subsequent years when the economy is expected to recover.
Republicans sought to commit general fund money to transportation after the economy recovers and to pay for the projects on an ongoing basis. They also wanted to divert $25 million a year from severance-tax revenue derived from oil and gas production towards repairing roads and bridges.