Mixed message on roads

Within days after approving a new highway-funding plan that includes raising fees on all vehicles registered in Colorado, Democrats in the state Legislature appear to be looking for ways to reduce money flowing to highways.

The Colorado Senate on Tuesday voted strictly along party lines to eliminate a legislative restriction on how much the budget can increase each year, and with it, a provision that says in good revenue years, some of that money is automatically transferred to highway funds.

The Democrats argue, not without reason, that the current elected representatives should have the authority to use the money as they see fit, not abide by what previous legislators decided.

But their actions work at cross purposes with the funding bill they just passed, which was signed by the governor.

If lawmakers really wanted to ensure there was a steady stream of funds flowing to highways, they would permanently set aside what was once known as Noble Bill revenue — money from sales taxes on auto-related items such as tires and batteries — and use it exclusively for transportation.


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