ELECTION 2014: Colorado locales to vote on road, bridge funding questions

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 10/21/2014

November ballots in counties throughout Colorado will include questions that cover transportation issues.

In Boulder County, voters will decide whether to increase the sales and use tax by 0.185 percent to pay for recovery from the 2013 flood. If approved, Question 1A is estimated to raise $9.8 million annually through 2019. The revenue would be used to repair damaged county roads and bridges.

State estimates show that 485 miles of roadway were destroyed during flooding in September 2013. As of the first of this year, more than $500 million in federal aid had been applied to make repairs, but local officials said more money is needed.

Advocates say despite partial reimbursements by the federal and state governments, the county expects to be $56 million in the hole after all repairs are made. They say passage of the ballot question would close much of that funding gap.

Elsewhere in the county, voters in the city of Longmont will cast ballots that include a question on whether to extend street maintenance and improvement work at current levels by extending an existing sales and use tax for 10 years.

In place since the late ’80s, the 0.75-cent tax to benefit local infrastructure is scheduled to end in 2016. Initiative 2A would authorize continuation of the tax through 2026.

In neighboring Jefferson County, voters in the city of Wheat Ridge will decide whether to raise revenue for projects that include road and bridge repairs.

Question 2A would increase the sales and use tax by 1 percent to raise an estimated $6.4 million annually. Another $40 million would be raised through bonding.

One project that would benefit from the additional revenue is the reconfiguration of 32nd Avenue at Interstate 70. An estimated $12 million would be used to eliminate the left turn to access the highway.

Another $6 million would be used for street and sidewalk maintenance throughout the city.

A short drive east along I-70, voters in the city of Aurora will decide whether to extend collection of a property tax to benefit transportation projects.

Question 2B on the local ballot for Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties will ask voters in the city of Aurora whether to continue collection of a 1.685-mill levy to pay for about $75 million in construction, maintenance and repairs to transportation infrastructure during the next 15 years.

Projects benefiting from the tax would be determined by public meetings and citizen surveys.

Voters in the Clear Creek County community of Idaho Springs will decide whether to increase the city’s sales tax by 1 percent to benefit roads.

Question 2B is estimated to raise $471,000 in the first year for street improvements, paving, street draining improvements, minor street repairs, pothole patching and street lighting.

A tax question is also on the ballot in the city of Red Cliff. Voters in the Eagle County community will decide whether to increase the local tax rate by as much as 6.122 mills for five years to pay for road and street light maintenance.

Question 2F would raise an estimated $20,083 in the first year.

In La Plata County, voters in the city of Baytown will decide whether to increase the local sales tax rate by 1 percent. Question 2A would earmark the estimated $285,000 raised annually for street, traffic and transportation purposes.

For more 2014 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

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