Denver Post Columnist Bob Ewegen highlights some of the the challenges of solving the transportation funding puzzle in Sunday’s Denver Post.
Years ago, the Denver Post editorial page proposed raising the state’s motor fuel tax of 22 cents a gallon by a dime.
We suggested using half of that revenue to repair the state’s crumbling highway network. The other nickel would have been earmarked to pay off bonds, so the state could borrow money to begin catching up on its mounting backlog of transportation needs.
Then-Gov. Roy Romer was seldom averse to spending money. Nonetheless, he objected to using bonds to accelerate highway construction, telling The Post’s editorial board he preferred “pay-as-you-go” construction.
“Governor,” I snapped back in exasperation, “we’re paying all right. But we’re not going.”
That was 1996. In the decade since, Colorado’s highway construction backlog has only grown worse. It now constitutes one of the two huge fiscal problems that Bill Ritter will face when he’s sworn in as governor next month, the other being how to pay for our starving higher education system.