Club 20 does U-turn on roads amendment

Backers of a measure to reshuffle severance-tax money to improve roads started the Club 20 fall debates with the organization’s support.

The organization, though, changed its mind late Saturday afternoon and voted to oppose Amendment 52, the “Better Roads Now” measure.

The amendment would cap existing severance tax funding for the Department of Natural Resources at the 2007-08 level and divert additional revenue to roads.

Opponents said the measure didn’t belong in the Constitution.

Jim Lochhead, a former director of the Department of Natural Resources, called it a “constitutional earmark.”

The measure is backed by state Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, and state Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch.

Penry couldn’t be reached for comment.

Club 20 is backing a measure that would make it more difficult to amend the constitution, and board members were uncomfortable with doing that while supporting an amendment, Executive Director Reeves Brown said.

Club 20 also supported the measure knowing it would direct more money to the east.

Opposition on both counts “resonated with the board,” which reversed its support, he said.

McNulty had contended in a debate that the amendment would go a long way toward helping the state deal with a $1.5 billion shortfall in transportation needs.

Colorado also needs $2.7 billion for water projects, and the measure would divert money from those needs, Lochhead said.


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