Buescher, Penry promise to work on transportation

In the event two of Mesa County’s state lawmakers find themselves in leadership positions at the Capitol in 2009, the Western Slope will not be left out of the loop when it comes to transportation funding.

State Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, told The Daily Sentinel’s editorial board Tuesday that he and Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, have committed to working together to formulate a solution to Colorado’s transportation funding crisis.

“We have promised we will work to find a funding solution to transportation,” Buescher said.

A blue ribbon commission announced earlier this year Colorado needs $500 million to $1.5 billion a year to maintain and improve its aging transportation network.

Attempts during the 2008 legislative session to provide some relief, from tolls on Interstate 70 to new automotive fees, fell flat.

“When we put our shoulders to the wheel, we can get things done,” Buescher said.

Buescher long has been rumored to be Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff’s successor. Penry’s name has been mentioned by prominent Republicans as a successor for Senate Minority Leader Andrew McElhany.

Term limits are forcing Romanoff, D-Denver, and McElhany, R-Colorado Springs, to retire.

Buescher and Penry have told The Daily Sentinel’s editorial board they likely have their bids for leadership positions wrapped up.

Before Buescher can take the House gavel, however, he faces a re-election challenge from Collbran Republican Laura Bradford.

Penry is not up for re-election until 2010.


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