I-70 snow tire bill dies in Senate committee
DENVER — Colorado drivers won’t need snow tires or chains in the trunk to drive into the mountains next winter. A bill to require adequate tire traction from October to May through the Rocky Mountains’ leading interstate highway failed Thursday for the second consecutive year.
The Republican-controlled Senate Transportation Committee defeated the proposal 3-2. Republicans have called the snow-tire requirement unnecessary — even though Colorado’s ski resorts and transportation officials strongly supported the idea.
“This is the best feel-good bill I’ve ever seen. But it doesn’t do anything,” said Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction.
Scott pointed out that he travels the mountain highway regularly to get to the Capitol in Denver and that highway officials have the tools they need now to order passenger vehicles to have all-weather tires or chains in the trunk.
Colorado requires commercial trucks to carry chains during snowy months, but passenger vehicles are required to have adequate tire tread only when highway officials declare a snow emergency. That happened more than 150 times last year, prompting Republicans to call the change unnecessary.
“I have letters from constituents who emailed me that we really don’t need this law,” said Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs.
Democrats, highway officials and tourism groups argued in vain for the change.
“We know that when I-70 doesn’t work, nothing works,” said Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, and sponsor of the bill.
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon may be closed intermittently Wednesday through the weekend, as highway crews break down and remove boulders and patch potholes caused by Tuesday’s rock slide.