Colorado bill would prevent 'gridlock by design'

| 2/2/2006

If a Colorado state lawmaker gets her way, city and county governments in the state would be prohibited from entering into non-compete agreements with toll road companies.

Rep. Gwyn Green, D-Golden, said her bill is intended to prevent the state from hampering traffic on free roads in order to divert traffic onto toll roads, often referred to as “gridlock by design.”

“Intentionally clogging up free roads paid for with tax dollars in order to force drivers to pay for toll roads is outrageous,” Green told the Rocky Mountain News. “Toll roads should sink or swim on their own.”

The effort comes as the Colorado Department of Transportation studies whether to complete the Denver metro beltway as a toll road. The route would go through Green’s hometown on Colorado 93 and U.S. 6.

CDOT opposes the bill. The agency said non-compete agreements could be essential to selling bonds for future toll roads.

“The bottom line is that it would make the bonds very difficult to market,” CDOT chief Tom Norton told the newspaper. “In some cases, where free roads are designed to take people to and from the same points as a toll road, they would use the free road to avoid the toll.”

The bill – HB1116 – is in the House Transportation and Energy Committee.