Colorado business groups align behind transportation deal

DENVER (AP) — A broad coalition of Colorado business groups has endorsed a $5 billion transportation measure moving through the state legislature.

The coalition's support, announced Monday, represents a boost to the proposal's chances of passage. Previously, business groups including Colorado Concern and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce had offered competing plans to pay for the state's infrastructure needs, complicating political negotiations at the divided legislature.

The state Senate voted unanimously in March to approve the bill, sending the measure to the House of Representatives. It would ask voters next year if they want to issue up to $3.5 billion in bonds that would cost up to $5 billion to repay over 20 years.

Disagreements remain over how the money should be split among state and local projects.

“We have a budget package that commits nearly half a billion additional dollars to transportation this year, after a similar commitment of $100 million general fund per year over the next 20 years made in 2017. That’s a great start to the multi-year effort we’ll need to get our state’s transportation systems up to speed," House Speaker Crisanta Duran said in a statement Monday.

“But I want to remind everyone,” she continued, “that there’s no shortage of underfunded priorities in our state budget, and we should be seeking a balanced approach. I will support measures that fund transportation without threatening K-12 education.” 

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