Colorado Legislative Council Staff



Drafting Number:

Prime Sponsor(s):

LLS 99-0912

Rep. Young


Bill Status:

Fiscal Analyst:

April 22, 1999

House Transportation

Scott Nachtrieb (303-866-4752)



Fiscal Impact Summary

FY 1999/2000

FY 2000/2001

State Revenues

General Fund



State Expenditures

Cash Fund Exempt



FTE Position Change

0.0 FTE

0.0 FTE

Other State Impact: None

Effective Date: 90 days after adjournment unless an initiative petition is filed

Appropriation Summary for FY 1999-2000:

 Department of Transportation - $250,000 State Rail Bank Fund

Local Government Impact: CDOT would be able to apply for and receive federal transit funds within the RTD district and in local government transit agencies with population in excess of 200,000.

Summary of Legislation

            The bill would extend the time that the Department of Transportation (CDOT) has to sell or lease the Towner Railroad line from June 30, 1999, to December 1, 2001. It also allows CDOT, in addition to the Regional Transportation District (RTD)and for projects in areas with more than 200,000 persons, to apply for and receive any federal grant funds available for mass transit and railways. The length of any lease of a railroad line owned by CDOT would be limited to five years. CDOT would retain any right of first refusal to purchase any rail line the department sold that was subsequently sold in part or as a whole. The bill also appropriates $250,000 from the State Rail Bank Fund to CDOT.

State Revenues


            The bill would allow CDOT to apply for and receive any federal transit funds for a railway or mass transit system. It should be noted that these federal funds are not guaranteed and are allotted on a competitive basis with all other states. Under current law, only RTD can apply for and receive these funds in the RTD district. CDOT cannot apply for and receive these federal funds for projects in urban areas of the state that have populations in excess of 200,000 people. The amount of federal funds that CDOT may receive is dependant upon the total cost of any project submitted to the Federal Transit Administration by CDOT. The federal law will fund up to 80 percent of an approved project’s cost. The remaining percentage would have to be financed from local matching funds. RTD has used this federal funding source to receive approximately $70 million to help build the HOV lanes on I-25 and $120 million for the southwest corridor light rail project.

            This provision is estimated to not change the amount of federal transit funds the state would receive for future mass transit projects, but may change the entity which controls the federal funds for projects depending on which entity applies for the federal funds.

State Expenditures


            The federal law requires a 20 percent state or local government match as a minimum for any approved mass transit project. Under current law, CDOT, RTD, and or any local governments may, through intergovernmental agreements, participate in the financing of the matching share. Current law also allows CDOT to utilize 10 percent of the sales and use tax funds transferred to the Highway Users Tax Fund for some limited purposes other than highway construction. This bill would not change current law. Therefore, this bill is estimated to not increase or decrease what CDOT may contribute as matching funds to mass transit projects.

            The bill also appropriates $250,000 in State Rail Bank Funds to CDOT. There is currently $1.0 million in the State Rail Bank Fund to be used to purchase abandoned rail lines. CDOT does not have spending authority for those funds since there was no need for CDOT to spend the funds unless purchasing a new railroad. However, since it is estimated that CDOT will not be settling the lease/purchase of the Towner Railroad line in the anticipated time frame, CDOT needs to maintain the rail line. (CDOT currently has the authority to maintain the rail line.) The $250,000 will be used to maintain the railroad line at a minimum level until the lease/purchase transaction is complete.

Local Government Impact


            The bill may affect the amount of federal revenues RTD may receive or projects may receive directly in urban areas with populations in excess of 200,000 persons should CDOT apply for these grants rather than the local entity. If CDOT never applies for the funds, RTD and other local governmental entities would not be impacted by this bill. This bill would allow CDOT the ability to apply for federal transit funds in all areas throughout the state in addition to the existing local governmental entities. The existing local governmental entities, including RTD, could continue applying for these federal funds.

State Appropriations

            The bill contains an appropriations clause for $250,000 in State Rail Bank Funds to the Department of Transportation.

Departments Contacted