Aurora Sentinel Editorial Board
Prop 110 was created by a consortium of businesses and consumer organizations to raise badly needed cash for roads without bankrupting public schools or forcing college students and their parents to fund roads through massive tuition hikes. It enjoys widespread support of chambers of commerce and elected officials across the state.
Deciding between this year’s two dueling transportation questions on the 2018 ballot is easy.
Prop 110, Let’s Go Colorado, asks for a small sales tax increase in exchange for $6 billion worth of desperately needed transportation improvements near your home and across the state.
Prop 109, Fix Our Damn Roads, takes $3.5 billion away from schools, colleges, public safety or other services and forces the state to build a proscribed list of projects that may not even make sense by the time Colorado gets the roads cash.
If you still have questions, read on.
Voters are being forced to choose a way to fund desperately needed transportation expansion and repairs because state lawmakers, split between two parties, can’t reach a compromise on how to pay for road projects. With rapid growth and rapidly deteriorating roads and bridges, it’s become one of Colorado’s biggest problems.
Key Republicans insist that Colorado has plenty of money to pay for road projects right now, but the state spends it on frivolous luxuries such as public schools, health care for the poor and state colleges. They’re unequivocally wrong. It’s a childish and dangerous game they play, and it’s clear not all Republicans feel the same way, just the ones currently in charge.
Colorado has long been a frugal state, which regularly ranks far toward the bottom of the list of states’ spending on roads, schools and just about everything else residents deem important.
The situation is made worse because the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which not only forbids lawmakers from raising taxes without voter approval, mandates increased tax revenues during good years be given to select residents. So when the economy is strong like it is now, it doesn’t mean there’s substantially more money for roads or anything else.
Over 20 years of living with TABOR, the state’s infrastructure has deteriorated to nearly third-world status, rural schools have been forced into four-day school weeks and families have had to suffer astronomical college tuition hikes just to try and keep the wheels on state government in Colorado.