State lawmakers are contemplating charges for every little thing from delivering gasoline to delivering pizza to restore Colorado’s streets – CBS Denver
DENVER (CBS4) – Billions of dollars in new fees could be the answer to Colorado road repairs.
A Democratic bill in state assembly includes approximately $ 3.9 billion in new fees and $ 1.5 billion in general fund and stimulus dollars.
Everyone who uses the roads pays under the bill, which includes a 20-cent charge on gas and diesel from 2022, which increases to 8 cents by 2028. The fee is added to the current gas tax.
There’s also a 27 cents delivery service charge on anything you pay sales tax on, from pizza to Amazon purchases to FedEx deliveries.
If you use carpooling like Uber and Lyft, you pay a 30 cents fee. There is also a car rental fee and electric vehicle owners would pay a registration fee equal to the fee that gas-powered vehicles pay for registration and gas fees.
“We have to make sure everyone pays their fair share and we get something in return, and that’s a fee,” said Senator Steve Fenberg, sponsor of the nearly 200-page bill. The company is investing more than $ 5 billion in roads, bridges, and many environmentally friendly transportation projects over the next 11 years.
“This is a historic investment in multimodal transport, a historic investment in roads and bridges over 11 years. We’re finally repairing I-70. We’re finally repairing the Eisenhower tunnel, ”said Fenberg.
Most of the money – $ 2.7 billion – goes into roads and bridges. There is $ 734 million to incentivize the purchase of electric cars, buses, and charging stations. The rest of the money goes to multimodal projects, air pollution control and front-range rail transport.
“It’s like a feeding frenzy down here with all the dollars running around and we can’t find any money to transport it,” said Senator Barb Kirkmeyer, who opposed the bill. “We have to go out and ask about a tax or fee, whatever you want to call it?”
She says the bill is an end-run for the taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, which requires lawmakers to go to the voters to raise taxes.
“It’s just incredible that they are so obviously arrogant that they are bypassing the public that way.”
The bill could also violate Proposition 117, which requires voter approval for new businesses that control fees exceeding $ 100 million a year. The bill spreads the money across five companies – or companies that manage the money – so that none crosses the threshold.
“They are definitely doing what I call legislative gymnastics to overcome this and find loopholes,” said Michael Fields. He wrote Proposition 117 and expected lawmakers to use several corporations to bypass it. So he added a language to say if companies serve the same purpose, they count as one.
“If you do it with it, you do it with something else and something else.”
Fenberg is confident the bill will stand up in court.
“Companies serve different purposes, and we know when we ask voters what their number one is, transportation is at the top. We’re talking a penny a gallon. It’s pretty insignificant compared to the benefits you’ll get. “
Under the bill, fees would be adjusted for inflation each year, and the companies that manage the fees could adjust them at any time.
The bill has widespread support in the business world, but it is almost certain to face a legal challenge. Opponents are also promising an electoral measure that would allow voters to lower the gas fee.