Denver Post
January 25, 2016

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 14: Brake lights fill Interstate-25 as traffic passes after 6 p.m., near Alameda. Denver traffic along I-25 was photographed on Monday, December 14, 2015. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 14: Brake lights fill Interstate-25 as traffic passes after 6 p.m., near Alameda. Denver traffic along I-25 was photographed on Monday, December 14, 2015. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

Traffic in Denver. Potholes in Colorado Springs. Unplowed roads on the Eastern Plains. Highway closures in the mountains. Gridlock on Interstate 25 north.

The state’s transportation problems all collide in one place: the Capitol. And the impact is pushing the perennial issue of state transportation funding to the top of the 2016 legislative to-do list.

Gov. John Hickenlooper and lawmakers are mostly united this session in a mission to find more money for road building and maintenance, but what is less universal is the solution.

Democrats and Republicans are moving in opposite directions and struggling to reach consensus on how to find more money — an impasse that is complicated by a state budget crunch.

Half of Colorado’s $1.28 billion transportation budget is spent on maintaining existing roads, according to state officials, which leaves little room for expansion projects demanded by a booming population. Colorado Department of Transportation officials estimate that revenues fall short of demand by about $1 billion a year. Read on…