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February 04, 2009 08:21 PM UTC

GOP Brings Stoopid, Dissident Dems Attack FASTER

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE #2: A deal at hand? No link yet but we’re being told to stand by a moment for a significant development. Rocky:

The Senate has paused further debate on the bill until 4 p.m. in an attempt to reach bipartisan compromise on the measure.

Rep. Al White, R-Hayden, will offer an amendment that would cut the $41 annual fees in half but then raise them up to that level over the next three years. The move would put people to work, as sponsoring Sen. Dan Gibbs has emphasized, and lower fees, as Republicans want.

…Several Democrats expressed optimism that a compromise can be reached. Sen. Chris Romer of Denver said that this is the time for Republican leadership to pledge to support the bill, and Gibbs said that everything remains on the table.

If we get a deal that works here, we promise to take back all the mean things we said about Mike Kopp below the fold. Thank you (provisionally), Al White.

UPDATE: Key components of the FASTER plan in danger now as rebellious progressive Democrats join with Republicans to strike funding mechanisms, Rocky:

Sen. Mary Hodge, D-Brighton, has rankled her own party again, this time with an amendment that would prohibit tolling of existing highway lanes. It again passed on an 18-17 vote.

The bill had provisions that would allow for tolling existing lanes under a process that involves local and state governments and, if the road in question is an interstate, a federal waiver…

Democratic Sens. Morgan Carroll of Aurora, Lois Tochtrop of Thornton and Jim Isgar of Hesperus joined Hodge and Republicans in backing the amendment.

The Rocky Mountain News legislative blog is reporting the GOP silliness:

Sen. Mike Kopp, R-Littleton, has introduced an amendment that would cut the $265 million transportation-funding bill to a measure that would pay $27 million to $50 million per year to fix only the bridges that are in imminent danger of collapsing. [Pols emphasis]

Rather than raising vehicle-registration fees, Kopp’s proposal would take money from severance tax revenues and would leverage state buildings as collateral for bond sales. This lower amount of spending would be in line with what Colorado taxpayers can afford to pay during a recession, Kopp said.

But Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, said this would be a “titanic” mistake. Letting the bridges get to the breaking point before replacing them instead of doing smaller and cheaper repairs over time is going to be both more expensive and more dangerous, Romer said.

Seriously, that wasn’t the ‘big idea’ from the GOP, was it? Because holy cow, there will be no mistaking a bridge in “imminent danger” of collapse–you’ll recall this plan worked out really well up in Minneapolis. Democrats totally should have thought of that, eh?

We’re no transportation infrastructure experts, but it’s common sense that you don’t wait until the very last minute to fix something as important as a bridge.

If this unseriousness is the best the Republicans have got, it’s either going to be a really short day or a really long one. In a sign of actual willingness to compromise, however, Sen. Dan Gibbs just pulled the mileage-based tax study out of the bill.


19 thoughts on “GOP Brings Stoopid, Dissident Dems Attack FASTER

  1. Me’s a GOP’er, but someone should really look into Mary Hodge’s relationship with the county folks in Adams that helped get E470 going through their area.  Something doesn’t smell right here….but what the hell do I know.

  2. Man is this bill a mess. Yesterday I thought it was a simple fees for safe bridges bill. There have been like 100 amendments to this turd because of its over reaching intent.

    I thought this was a bi-partisan work, apparently not all the Dems are on board. There are a ton of amendments to clean up the damage this bill will do to various economic sectors.

    It seems there are all kinds of trickery going on. Now one speaker just called for a time out because he says there is a deal at hand.

    I went and viewed the pdfs of this bill. Man it confirms this is one overreaching effort to get all the goodies in place, fee them up and roll-out tons of cash to starved trans projects. I can see why the Guv crippled the trans budget early on … starve the beast.

  3. First off, this sentence doesn’t make any sense. Transponders and toll gates may be the consequences of an election? What? I think what Sen. Penry is trying to say is that the Democratic plan to fund urgent job-creation efforts and shore up structurally deficient bridges may cost Democrats come Election Day. But is his focus on Election Day or on finding a solution to one of the state’s most pressing problems? It seems that, despite his Opening Day pledge, Sen. Penry hasn’t suspended the “permanent campaign” after all.

  4. Dan Gibbs may be the sponsor, but it is the Governor’s bill.  He has a lot riding on it from a policy AND a political standpoint.

    There may also be some ‘what goes around comes around’ going on here with some Senate Dems v. the Governor over past treatment.

  5. I’m glad they’re getting rid of the mileage-based tax study.  That was annoying.  

    It sounds like it could actually happen and that there is some good backchecking going on on what this bill will actually do.  Good!

    I can put up with a lot of stoopid in this bill if they have the good sense to pass something that bonds these fees so we can start bridge repairs soonest.  Now, if it gets passed, it’s up to CDOT … We’re DOOMED!

  6. I am proud of these democrats who are actually standing up for what they believe is in the best interest of the citizens of this state. Even if it means going against the wishes of some in their own party. I, and I bet the vast majority of Colorado citizens would agree, that tolling existing highway lanes is wrong! Let me tell you what else is not equitable. The only part of 470 that is tolled is the portion in Adams County. That’s wrong. Why do the folks who live in the southwest and the south east portions of the metro area get to travel in those areas with no tolls yet the folks up north get screwed. Looks like RTD is triing to do the same thing with passenger rail. Build passenger rail south, east and west and screw the North. This is getting old and the folks in Thornton, Commerce City, Westminster, Northglenn, Broomfield, Brighton, Longmont, Erie, Lafayette, Boulder ect….. are sick and tired of it. Where’s the equity. Where is simple basic fairness? We better start pulling our heads out or 2010 will not be pretty for some incumbents.

    1. But 470 from County Line east through Arap County and Aurora to DIA is mostly in Arap County and was and may still be the highest toll per mile in the country.

          1. I graduated from Westminster High, owned my home here in Thornton for 10 years and I am a Colorado native. It would take a career move where I could still contribute in some way to Colorado for me to move now.  

            1. I was being sarcastic. You don’t have to move- just help fix how CO and CDOT fund investments.

              My point is that there are tolls on a lot of 470.

              If this map is close to scale-

              It would appear the length with tolls in Adams county is just a bit longer than the tolled piece in Arapahoe County/Denver County.

              And all the lanes underconsideration on C470 from I25 west to I70 are tolled.


            2. You’re exaggerating

              According to CDOT and google maps and using I70 as the dividing line-

              From I70 to Broomfield 470 is toll- 35.3 miles

              From I70 to I25 (Park Meadows) is toll – 27 miles

              From I25& 470 west to I70 – no toll 26 miles

              North of I70 – mostly toll 35miles

              South of I70- 1/2 toll, 1/2 not toll 53 miles

              So- what you need to do is get 470 built from 36 to I-70/C470 and do it with no toll.

              Or get used to it. Or move.

        1. E-470 is tolled (all the way to I-25 by Park Meadows) and C-470 (across southwest Denver over to I-70 in Golden) isn’t. That’s a lot of toll south of I-70 on the east side.

    2. My position on this bill has evolved. The MMC requested that language be added to the original Senate Bill that essentially states that all effected juristictions would have to agree before a toll is allowed on existing highways. I support this change. I support the “Faster” Bill, but, would like to see language added to the existing bill that would ensure that very important projects like 84th/I-25 interchange and bridge, bridges on 104th ave (on the way out to the airport) and other important infrastructure projects are not only “on the list” of potential projects that “could” be funded by this “Faster” Transportation Bill, but, actually have some language that guarantees these projects on the CDOT list actually get funded.

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