Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Vehicle Registration Increase Passes Colorado House

It's been a bumpy road for Colorado Senate Bill 108, a.k.a. FASTER (Funding Advancement for Surface Development and Economic Recovery), but yesterday it passed through the House. With a final reading today it looks like it will get the green light. Besides raising our vehicle registration, what's in it for us?

Supporters say that FASTER could create approximately 8,000 new jobs in road construction and repair by raising about $250 million. That's the estimated amount that would come from increased vehicle registration -- an average of $31/vehicle a year for the first year and $42 in subsequent years. Other funding would come from increased car rental fees. This is in addition to the $500 million Colorado is estimated to receive from as part of the national stimulus package.

So could that mean that we'd create 16,000 new jobs? ($250 million = 8,000, $500 million = 16,000). No one is really certain.

The FASTER bill does address much needed road and bridge repair. We all remember the 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse. In our state 125 bridges are rated as “poor” or structurally deficient. The bill is written to care for 126 bridges and roads.

FASTER doesn't solve all of our road problems which are estimated at $30 billion, though you might say that something is better than nothing. FASTER does not take on the I-70 issues, but does include a provision to allow local jurisdictions to set up tolls on existing roads.

Without the Bill Colorado funds it's road repair through gasoline taxes. The State’s $0.22/gallon is a flat tax which has not raised since 1992. Vehicle registration increases would be based on weight and divided between bridge and road repair.

Registration increases as proposed in the bill would range as follows:
  • The average car (2,000 lbs and under) will pay $13 toward bridge safety and $16 for roads with a total of $29.

  • The heaviest vehicles (Greater than 16,000 lbs.) will pay $32 to bridges and $39 for a total of $71.00

To learn more you can visit ColoradoFASTER.

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