Alabama, Colorado ballots include road funding, borrowing questions

| Friday, August 13, 2010

On Nov. 2, voters will head to the polling booth and make numerous decisions on various races and issues. Among the topics on Alabama and Colorado ballots are efforts to address borrowing and transportation funding.

Alabama voters will decide on a question about spending $1 billion on road and bridge projects throughout the state. If approved, the Alabama Constitution would be amended to allow money to be rerouted from a state savings account for roads and bridges.

During the next decade $100 million would be removed from the Alabama Trust Fund. The fund has about $2.6 billion accumulated from natural gas wells drilled in state-owned waters along the Alabama coast.

The state would divide $25 million annually among its 67 counties and their cities for road and bridge work. Another $75 million each year would be routed to the Alabama Department of Transportation.

Critics of the plan question whether the trust fund should be dipped into once again. The fund pays for various functions of state government, including the General Fund. The Legislature previously has tapped the trust fund to lure new industries and to benefit education.

Supporters say it would help Alabama to continue work on a long list of road and bridge projects.

Statewide ballots in Colorado will include a question that would require local governments to get voter approval to borrow, require debt to be repaid within 10 years, and prohibit borrowing by the state government.

Supporters of Amendment 61 say out-of-control borrowing needs to be curbed. Opponents say that if the question passes $2 billion a year in publicly financed construction would come to an end.

For more transportation initiatives on ballots, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the topics included in this story. Comments may be sent to statelegislativedesk@ooida.com.