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As Colorado drivers deal with crumbling roads, many ask: Where has the FASTER tax money gone?

Posted: 4:35 PM, Aug 30, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-31 01:25:29Z

Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at  contact7@thedenverchannel.com  or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories  here .

DENVER -- Last Monday, we reported on how the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is using social media to gather support for its road projects . We heard from so many of you after that story aired, with questions about the so-called FASTER tax.  

So where has that money gone, and is it really helping? Contact7 got some answers for viewers about the 9-year-old vehicle registration tax that helps fund CDOT road project.

Denver driver Morris Burns has noticed "more vehicles than there is pavement,” and that's the challenge for CDOT as it looks to repair our Colorado's crumbling roads with a dwindling budget.

“The reality is CDOT has about $1 billion a year shortfall,” CDOT spokeswoman Amy Ford told Contact7. “The vast majority of our budget goes to simply maintaining the system we have."

In 2009, the legislature approved FASTER , a vehicle registration tax created to help pay for bridges, safety, and transit improvements. Denver7 viewers wanted to know where that money has gone. Ford gave us the short answer.

"We have been putting the money out on the roads so the people can see the benefit immediately,” Ford said.

She said the tax brings in about $200 million a year — it's been money well spent, according to Ford.

“In the first five years of FASTER, we were able to take that money and redo 100 bridges,” she said.   

Since then, the tax has also paid for several other high priority projects — including wildlife fencing on I-70 in Garfield County and major road projects on I-25.

Ashley Beluszak commutes from Thornton to Denver each day. She said the commute, which usually took 25 minutes a few years ago, now takes more than an hour.

She supports FASTER, and anything else that make her commute more manageable.

“If it's going to help us get to work faster, I'm for it,” she said.

The FASTER tax has also paid for the popular Bustang service that connects people from Denver to Colorado Springs and Grand Junction.

The bottom line is the tax brings in $200 million a year to CDOT — money they desperately need.