Originally Posted by NayBreak
Hard to disagree with that, but I don't see CDOT as the problem. We live in a society, and a state, where people want infrastructure and services, but treat taxation as theft. Look at TABOR, proposals to amend the constitution to prohibit state government infrastructure investment borrowing, etc. I have paid thousands now in school fees for things that used to be tax base paid. "Fee" is just another three letter word for "tax", except it is a use tax. In this case, it is discretionary, so IMO about as low harm as you get at the user tax level, but no doubt our refusal to fund our institutions continues to create income based privilege without lowering the cost of services and infrastructure in any way.
Yep. Tax increases, any tax increases, must be approved by voters in the State of Colorado. This is known as TABOR- the TAxpayer Bill Of Rights.
The cost of real improvements to I-70 are so vast that there is no way to pay for it without a tax increase- and the tax increase would either need to be statewide, or be really onerous on the Denver metro and counties along the I-70 corridor, AND drain basically everything in the existing transportation budget for highway improvements for a decade or two.
The T-rex project (rebuilding I-25 through metro Denver) was done using the latter approach- the locals voted in property tax increases, and the vast majority of highways funds for the entire state went to 20 miles of one highway (and light rail along the highway). This approach pissed off roughly everybody not living along that 20 mile section of highway, making it even less likely that this approach will be successful in the future, not to mention that T-REX was a 1.6 billion endeavor and I-70 will cost MUCH more.
So basically, there is zero chance that statewide voters are going to agree to a tax increase. Because we've kicked the can on meaningful I-70 improvements since the original highway buildout was completed in 1993 (Glenwood Canyon), we are so far behind the problem at this point that fixing the road at this point is going to take several decades and giant sums of money, or any improvement is going to result in tons of construction delays AND STILL similar congestion at its completion as today.
So, a moonshot level of project is needed, which needs statewide voters, even less of which drive I-70 through the mountains than I-25 up the front range. It just isn't going to happen.
I think the next level of stopgap measures will be a lodging tax in Denver metro, Clear Creek, Eagle, and Summit counties. Voters will approve a tax they believe somebody else is going to pay. Maybe then we can have 5 years of construction and attendant delays to get 3 lanes in each direction from Denver to Vail, with 1 a toll lane, and congestion worse than today.
I like having really low property taxes. I like being able to vote on tax increases- and most of the time I vote for them.
But having a viable transportation corridor is certainly in the state's best interest, and it is really a problem when we can't get to the point of statewide voter approval for something that is pretty vital to the statewide economy.