Officials want to fast-track road projects
If the Colorado Legislature really wants to help get more road projects done, then it should push for fewer regulations, two local officials told lawmakers visiting Grand Junction on Wednesday.
As part of a statewide “listening tour” to get ideas about what transportation issues the Legislature should focus on, Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese and Fruita Mayor Pro-Tem Stacey Mascarenas told the Transportation Legislation Review Committee that there are too many regulations governing simple road projects.
“We have a good relationship with (the Colorado Department of Transportation), but what we find is that government bureaucracy is one of the biggest detriments to getting money back into our community,” Pugliese said. “We would like to advocate for some streamlined version of regulations for smaller projects in order to get that money back out to our communities.”
Mascarenas said that many of those regulations cost more money, which means fewer projects can get completed.
The two lawmakers were among a handful of local officials who came to the committee’s hearing at Colorado Mesa University. Several others talked about getting funding for specific road projects, and argued against an effort to place a measure onto next year’s ballot to raise taxes for transportation projects, despite the fact the Legislature has little to do with either.
While the Legislature allocates money for transportation as a whole, it’s actually the Colorado Transportation Commission that decides what specific projects get funded. And it’s not the Legislature that is considering placing a tax measure on next year’s ballot, but an independent coalition, Rep. Max Tyler, D-Golden, the committee chairman, told those in attendance several times.
Still, Tyler said the tour, which also took the committee to Steamboat Springs and will end in Glenwood Springs, is designed to gather ideas.
“It’s good to hear from folks in the community because it helps us to understand what the issues and what the needs are,” Tyler said.