FASTER funding Colorados economy
The states infrastructure is in a state of disrepair, mainly due to Colorados 22-cent-per-gallon fuel tax not having been increased since 1991. It boils down to revenues not keeping pace with the rising costs of maintenance, repair and construction. To resolve this financial crisis, Gov. Ritter established his Blue Ribbon Transportation Finance and Implementation Panel in April 2007 to identify long-term sustainable programs and funding sources for transportation in Colorado.After numerous public meetings across the state, the panels funding recommendations won bipartisan support from a statewide coalition of business organizations, county and municipal officials and conservation groups. On March 2, Ritter signed into law Senate Bill 09-108, also known as the FASTER initiative (Funding Advancement for Surface Development and Economic Recovery), a program projected to generate about $252 million annually for transportation projects that will strengthen Colorados economy by putting thousands of Coloradans to work while allowing the state to repair unsafe bridges and roadways across the state. FASTER is funded by increasing the states motor vehicle registration fees, costing the average Colorado driver $32 more in registration fees during the first year beginning July 1, 2009. This fee would gradually increase as the states economy rebounds. In additional to vehicle registration fees, FASTER also institutes new fees on motor vehicle rentals, late motor vehicle registrations, and registration of oversize or overweight vehicles. FASTER would also authorize municipalities to use tolls or public-private partnerships to finance road projects; and allow the use of experimental financing methods to allow communities the option to explore other road project financing mechanisms such as a per-mile driving tax instead of the current tax applied to each gallon of gasoline purchased at the pump. Sabrina Harris is transportation manager for the city of Glenwood Springs.
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