DENVER -- State lawmakers say they need more money for state roads and they just introduced a plan costing hundreds of millions of dollars to widen Interstate 25 and Interstate 70 in the mountains to help with traffic as well as with road improvements.
The plan would also give money to local districts for infrastructure projects.
To pay for this, Colorado lawmakers are introducing a plan to ask voters to raise the sales tax from 2.9 percent to 3.5 percent.
“If they actually put the money there, great. But if they’re not and they’re spending it on stupid things, nah I’m good,” said James Garcia.
#Colorado voters, would you approve a .6% sales tax hike to improve/widen roads and alleviate traffic. Tax would rise from 2.9% to 3.5%
— Adam Hammond (@AdamHammond_7) March 9, 2017
Garcia just moved to Colorado from Texas, and is sticker shocked by the cost of living increase so he’s a little skeptical of raising taxes for anyone.
“The change here is a big difference, especially price wise,” said Garcia.
Some argue a sales tax increase is regressive and will disproportionately impact the poor.
“This transportation plan is a meaningful way to make sure we do what we need to, to invest in roads and bridges,” said Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran.
Rep. Duran told Denver7 the plan would generate almost $700 million with the possibility of raising $3.5 billion in bonds, but it does include a reduction in vehicle registration fees.
“We want to make sure that local communities across the state will be able to use dollars for transportation projects and really meet the needs of the specific people in their area,” said Duran.
Jay Griffin is in favor of the tax increase to support alternative transportation like rail, but not necessarily all the road projects.
“Studies have shown that as long as they widen traffic lanes and add traffic lanes it just adds vehicles to the road,” said Griffin.
The sales tax increase would last for 20 years.
Right now, it’s unclear how the state would come up with the money if a voter approved tax increase fails.