CDOT: Gas taxes should go up to pay for roads

Posted at 4:50 PM, Jan 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-23 18:52:39-05

The man in charge of Colorado's roads says the state needs to raise gas taxes to help cover billions in dollars of needed road repairs and improvements.

Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Shailen Bhatt appeared on this week's edition of Politics Unplugged on Denver7.

Bhatt told Anne Trujillo and Marshall Zelinger the 22-cents a gallon Colorado drivers pay in gas state tax and 18.6-cents in federal taxes hasn’t increased since 1993.

"Just from an inflationary aspect, everything else goes up over time, so both of those numbers should be adjusted to inflation," Bhatt told the Politics Unplugged hosts.

Bhatt went on to add that in that time, not only have Colorado’s transportation needs changed, but so have the cars using the highways.

"In 1993, I was driving a Jeep Wrangler that got, I think 10 miles to the gallon driving downhill, now my car gets 40 miles to the gallon,” Bhatt added. “There's cars out there that don't use very little gas at all, so we need to just have a frank discussion about what is needed for transportation."

This session Colorado lawmakers are considering a bill that would provide $3.2 billion to cover some of the much needed repairs and improvements Bhatt said Colorado’s roads desperately need.

In the interview, Bhatt also discussed plans to redo Interstate 70 through central Denver and the reasons why the state continues to add toll lanes to existing roads.


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