Transportation – While use of public private partnerships to address infrastructure needs is an admirable goal, it would appear that they’re recommending that CDOT embark on a “public education campaign” to convince taxpayers that greater taxes are necessary to build infrastructure. It would be offensive for CDOT to use taxpayer funds to educate taxpayers on why it needs more of taxpayers’ funds. Finally, the much-beloved-by-the-left gas tax. Rumor has it that a gas tax increase has been polled recently and (not surprisingly) did not poll well.
- Coloradans must choose how best to finance substantial investments in Colorado’s transportation system, including how best to maintain existing roads and bridges and to undertake new projects that help relieve congestion in urban and suburban areas and to improve safety and reliability in rural areas.
- Public/private and public/public (intra-governmental) partnerships should be pursued to relieve congestion and provide better travel time reliability on congested corridors. Toll, managed lanes, such as HOV, should be implemented to offset a portion of the cost
- Non-governmental transportation stakeholders should continue to conduct research and develop options to fund maintenance and expansion of the transportation system and make proposals in the near-term to keep the state transportation system competitive.
- The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) should continue to educate the public about the status of transportation funding in Colorado and the current condition of the state’s aging infrastructure, as well as the consequences on our existing infrastructure if we continue to fund transportation at the current rate.
- Over the long run, new transportation funding mechanisms should be explored as alternatives or additions to the current system that relies heavily on gasoline tax. Options should include a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fee, indexing the gas tax to inflation and greater regional funding authority.
- The state should play an enhanced role in helping to catalyze and secure funding for transit projects, such as interregional bus service.
Constitution – Colorado’s constitutional amendment process has been the butt of many jokes.
Just this year, a group tried to organize a ballot measure that would set up a state bank. (Because PERA is going so so well?) The idea of raising the bar for ballot initiatives sounds like a great idea. But, the beauty of Colorado’s ballot initiative process is that it offers average citizens the opportunity to be heard. Raising the bar for new amendments could limit the opportunity for citizens to be heard.
- Additional public engagement should be undertaken with the goal of identifying a package of reforms to the state constitution that keeps faith with Colorado’s tradition of direct democracy but also recognizes the unique importance of the constitution.
- A process, such as a newly created review commission, to periodically review the constitution and recommend changes to voters should be explored. (Peak emphasis)
- After the above recommendation is carried out, the process for amending the constitution should be changed so that a higher bar must be met for new amendments. (Peak emphasis)
Overall, the TBD process started out with a few guffaws at the name (or, lackthereof) and ended with some very concerning recommendations that would place more power in the hands of a centralized state government. And, taxes. Lots of new taxes. TBD could be the holiday gift that keeps on taking.