Framework for transportation funding legislation unveiled
In This Section
April 9, 2021
By Kevin Bommer, CML executive director, and Meghan MacKillop, CML legislative and policy advocate
On Thursday, March 18, legislative leaders released new details on legislation that will be introduced in the weeks ahead intended to be a "comprehensive transportation funding plan to modernize our state’s transportation system," according to one of the bill's sponsors, Sen. Faith Winter, D-Westminster. The other bill sponsors are Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder; Speaker of the House Alec Garnett, D-Denver; and Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield. The proposed legislation raises nearly $4 billion in revenue over 10 years by implementing nine new fees beginning July 2022:
• Road Usage Fee: New fee on fuel applied to fuel sale to offset consumer impact on roadway and transportation system. $.02 per gallon increase, increasing every two years, capped at $.08.
• Truck Fee Additional Diesel Fee: Applied to the sale of fuel to offset the additional impact of trucks on the roadway. $.06 per gallon increase, increasing $.01 every two years, capped at $.08.
• Electric Vehicle Fee: Index the existing $50/year electric vehicle (EV) registration fee and assess an additional fee to establish parity with the amount of gas tax paid by a driver. $9 annual battery electric vehicle (BEV) fee, increasing to $90 by year 10; $3 annual plug in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) fee, increasing to $27 by year 10.
• Transportation Network Company Fee: Fee on transportation network companies to offset congestion and emission impacts on the transportation system for new transportation services and increased trips. $.30 per trip.
• Online Retail Order Fee: Fee on online deliveries to offset the impact on the transportation system, air quality, and congestion. $.25 per delivery.
• Personal Car Share Fee: Lift exemption on $2/day rental fee (index to consumer price index (CPI)). Lift the $2 per day exemption.
• Rental Fee: Index existing fee to ensure users of the road pay their share. Index existing $2 per day rental fee to CPI.
• Taxi Fee: Fee on taxis to offset consumer impact on the transportation system. TBD.
• Autonomous Vehicle Safety Fee: Assess a safety fee on autonomous vehicles based on vehicle miles traveled (VMT). TBD.
Nearly 70% of new revenue would be distributed under the existing Highway Users Tax Fund (HUTF) distribution formula, and municipalities will have access to specialized funds created from much of the remaining 30% of the new funding. While the plan calls for reducing Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation Economic Recovery (FASTER) vehicle registration fees for two years for a total $90 million reduction in HUTF revenue, legislative leaders stated that the state would backfill the local governments' resulting reduction. In late February, amid swirling rumors about what might be included in the legislation, CML sent a letter to Gov. Polis and legislative leaders to affirm CML’s existing policy from the League’s 2020-2021 Policy Statement. The goal was to ensure no reduction in proportional municipal share while affirming that CML remained open to working collaboratively on the proposal. The feedback received from those close to the drafting of the legislation was positive, but it was also conveyed that no one would get exactly what they wanted. Upon initial review, the funding package would create significant new funding for municipal transportation needs through increased HUTF revenues. In addition, it appears there will be a substantial increase in multimodal funding available to municipalities. However, League staff will need to do a thorough analysis of the proposal to determine that new programs allow for maximum flexibility in the use of funds at the local level, as well as whether or not the new HUTF revenue and specialized programs will address specific concerns of municipalities with greater total population impacts and infrastructure challenges. We expect to work closely with our local government association partners and their respective members. For further reading on the draft proposal, head to CPR News (bit.ly/3urTTHA) and The Colorado Sun (bit.ly/3wwjJfi).
As additional details and information become available, CML will share them. Please direct any questions you may have at this time to Meghan MacKillop at mmacKillop@cml.org.