Friday, January 30, 2009

Democratic Transportation Bill Moves On

The comprehensive transportation funding bill that would raise motorists' registration fees to pay for highway and bridge repairs has taken another step forward on the road to law.

SB 108, which is known by the acronym "FASTER," cleared the Senate Finance Committee Thursday on a 4-3 party-line vote.

Sponsoring Sen. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne, said the committee's fast action, which followed approval by another Senate committee earlier in the week, is necessary because the bill will promote job creation.

"If we can create a safer environment while creating more jobs for people in Colorado, let’s do it and let’s do it now," Gibbs said. "The 'ER' in FASTER in for 'Economic Recovery’. We need a reliable, sustainable, responsible solution and a real plan for the future of Colorado now, and this is it.”

The measure will raise about $214 million in its first year if it becomes law and about $250 million in subsequent years. The money will come from increases to motor vehicle registration fees.

The average increase for an individual is expected to be about $2.50 per month, according to a Senate Democratic Caucus "fact sheet" released earlier in the week.

The measure now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.