Colorado in search for road dollars

| 9/14/2006

Officials in Colorado are racking their brains to figure out how to pay for billions of dollars of needed roadwork. At this time, potential revenue enhancers don’t solely target truckers.

As funding to build and repair roads and bridges has continued to dwindle throughout the state, a Denver Regional Council of Governments task force is looking for possible revenue sources. Among the potential sources of revenue mentioned are increasing the state income tax and boosting the tax on oil and fuel production.

Officials estimate that the Denver area will need about $13.8 billion for roads during the next 25 years. Only $5.8 billion is expected to be available, the Denver Post reported.

To help reduce the gap, council manager Steve Cook told the group that increasing the state income tax by 0.1 percent could generate as much as $3 billion by 2031. Adding 1 percent to the 5 percent severance tax might raise $1 billion during the same time period, Cook said.

Other tax and fee increases to raise money for roads and bridges also are being considered by the tax force, the Post reported. Some would require action by the Colorado General Assembly, and many would need voter approval.

During a Sept. 8 meeting, the group was asked to consider a 3 percent severance-tax surcharge. The surcharge, which is largely charged to oil and fuel, could potentially raise $356 million annually for transportation statewide.

Other sources for capital drawing consideration by the council include boosting various taxes and charging drivers for “vehicle miles traveled.” The fee could cost truckers and motorists a penny for each mile driven, the Post reported.