Colorado is spending record sums on transportation. But state highways are getting less. |

Colorado is spending record sums on transportation. But state highways are getting less.

Brian Eason
The Colorado Sun
A vehicle travels a long stretch of highway on U.S. 6 near Haxtun, Colorado. on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. Lawmakers say motorists are fed up with the condition of highways around the state and don't care which government pays to fix them. “When I’m driving around in my car, I’m not taking note of whether I’m on a state highway, or something maintained by a city or county," Sen. Jeff Bridges says. (Austin Humphreys, Special to The Colorado Sun)

By the end of the new fiscal year, Colorado state lawmakers will have pumped a record-setting $1.7 billion extra into transportation over a two-year stretch, with over $1 billion more on the way.

But they also made history in another way, to little fanfare: For the first time, lawmakers are sending money from the state’s general fund to cities and counties to help pave local roads as well.

On its face, the arrangement seems unsustainable. Effectively, a state budget that’s proved insufficient to handle state highway needs is now being tapped to help local governments with their unmet funding responsibilities, as well.

And to Republican critics, it’s an unwelcome development. The state, they argue, should take care of the state’s responsibilities first and foremost.

But Democrats argue that Colorado’s entire transportation network is facing the same funding crisis. The state’s $9 billion in identified project needs are matched by a similar amount at the local level. And drivers don’t care whether they hit a pothole on a state highway or a local road: They just want it fixed.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

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