Discussion on Transportation Bill
COMMITTEE ON JOINT SELECT COMMITTEE ON JOB CREATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
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The meeting was called to order. A quorum was present.
12:16 PM -- Discussion on Transportation Bill
Senator Dan Gibbs and Representative Joe Rice, prime sponsors of the proposed transportation legislation, testified about the proposal. It is entitled Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery (FASTER). Committee members received a fact sheet on FASTER (Attachment A), a draft bill summary (Attachment B) and a report from the Colorado Department of Transportation Asset Management Unit about structurally poor bridges (Attachment C).
Senator Gibbs explained that the legislation has five major objectives: creating jobs, addressing structurally deficient bridges, initiating mileage-based pilot programs, pursuing opportunities for multimodal projects like the Transportation Expansion project (or T-REX), and committing to departmental efficiency improvements. The bill also has four major components, including the bridge and road safety program, high performance transportation enterprise, mileage based revenue, and a departmental efficiency committee.
Representative Rice discussed his concerns about mileage-based revenue sources and his concerns about the gas tax. He also discussed finding ways to give regions of the state authority to obtain additional revenue for transportation and whether the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) was using its funding in the most efficient manner.
Representative Rice and Senator Gibbs responded to questions from the committee about basic funding, bonding issues, payment schedule of certificates of participation (COPs), and vehicle surcharges. The sponsors said that a copy of the bill draft would be made available to the committee when it was completed.
The following witness testified about the proposal:
12:40 PM -- Mr. Russell George, Colorado Department of Transportation, answered questions about transportation policy, including questions about a 10 cent surcharge, vehicle registration fees, construction funding, and severance taxes as a source of revenue.
12:50 PM -- Mr. George continued taking questions from committee members about the impact of vehicle weight on roads and bridges. He testified that there is scientific process that has attempted to evaluate and answer that question. However, it is difficult because the impact of light vehicles cannot be measured. It is more possible to estimate the impacts of larger vehicles on bridges.
12:54 PM -- Mr. George addressed questions about fees that are charged for primary and secondary vehicles. There were questions about whether motorcycles should count as a primary or secondary vehicle and what data the Department might have on this matter. Mr. George testified that he did not have this data with him and would have to look at it further.
Senator Schwartz distributed an email from Karen Goldman, Secretary of the Senate, on whether the members could receive per diem for meetings they attended during the interim. The committee continued its discussion on transportation policy.
Representative Rice stated that the sponsors would like a list of supporters of the transportation proposal. He took additional questions from the members of the committee. Representative McFadyen requested a break-down list of bridge projects based on legislative district, and she also suggested posting signs on completed projects stating "This project was paid for by FASTER."
The committee adjourned.