At his 4th annual State of the City address Friday Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers expressed unqualified support for Proposition 109, otherwise known as “Fix Our Damn Roads.”
Proposition 109 directs the state legislature to issue $3.5 billion in bonds to fund more than 60 specific Colorado Department of Transportation road and bridge priorities. Excluded from the measure is any transit funding or distributions to local governments.
The measure doesn’t specify where the legislature is to come up with the money to pay back the bonds except to say that it cannot be paid for with new taxes or fees. Legislative Council staff puts the carrying cost of the 20 year bonds at $260 million per year.
“For the residents of Colorado Springs,” said Suthers, “I’d suggest that Proposition 109, the ‘Fix Our Damn Roads’ proposal, is a better deal. You get $3.5 billion in state highway investment without a tax increase and you get to retain a much higher level of investment in local roads.”
Suthers pointed out that citizens of Colorado Springs have already approved about $50 million for local roads. “In 2018 (Issue 2C) will generate about $52 million for our local roads,” said Suthers.
But if the competing tax-increase measure for transportation sponsored by the Denver Chamber of Commerce, Proposition 110, is passed, Suthers says Colorado Springs would end up in the lurch to the tune of more than $30 million.
“We estimate Colorado Springs would receive around $18-20 million a year for local roads from this proposal,” Suthers said. “In 2018 (Issue 2C) will generate about $52 million for our local roads.”
“If Proposition 110 passes it would raise the total sales tax to 8.87%, which in my opinion is too high,” said Suthers. “If that happens the Council and I probably wouldn’t seek to renew 2C for another 5 years in 2020. In which case, Colorado Springs would be giving up over $50 million per year in local road construction for about $18-20 million. That’s not a good deal.”