Brenner, White talk housing |

Brenner, White talk housing

EAGLE COUNTY ” State representative candidates Al White and Ken Brenner discussed transportation and affordable housing solutions at a forum in Vail on Thursday.

Both candidates for Senate District 8, which includes Eagle County, agreed that funds were needed for the cash-strapped Colorado Department of Transportation, and that the money should come from increases fees and taxes.

“We’re going to have to look at some of increasing of (vehicle) registration fees,” White said at the forum hosted by the Vail Board of Realtors. “Maybe a sales tax increase ” I think it’s worth looking at.”

While some legislators has proposed upping registration fees to $100, White, a Republican state representative from Hayden, said such an increase would be unfair to many ranchers, who often have several vehicles.

He said he would support a lesser increase.

Brenner, a Democrat who served as Steamboat Springs city council president, said he supports a combination of fee increases and taxes. He said he is especially interested in the idea of a transponder system that tracks how far and where cars go and tax the owner accordingly.

Both candidates also said they would not support a statewide tax on residential and commercial real estate transactions in order to fund affordable housing. The legislation was proposed earlier this year.

“Any additional taxes or fees would have a chilling effect on the real estate business,” White said. “We’re already feeling the chill blowing down our necks now.”

Brenner said local governments should take care of it through the use of inclusionary zoning, which requires builders to meet the affordable housing needs their projects create, and local transfer taxes.

Eagle County’s housing guidelines passed early this year are a good example, he said.

“That’s exactly what they need ” it just needs to be consistent across the towns and the county,” he said. “There are opportunities where real estate can help with affordable housing, but shouldn’t be the sole source of funding.”

The candidates touted their efforts to preserve Western Slope water and the environment.

Brenner said he wanted to promote the renewable energy industry.

“It could be the next dot-com boom, and Colorado should be the leader in that,” he said.

White touted his part in supporting tourism by putting $19 million toward promoting Colorado nationally and internationally.

“There is a return of $10 for every dollar spent,” he said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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