Thursday, March 27, 2008


Senator Tells Front Range Lawmakers to Legislate in Their Own Backyards

DENVER—Today Senator Dan Gibbs (D-Silverthorne) and Representative Christine Scanlan (D-Dillon) ripped into proposals to toll along the I-70 mountain corridor.

Gibbs and Scanlan held a rally with mountain and Front Range community leaders in advance of hearings by the Senate Transportation Committee to consider two bills—one by Senator Chris Romer (D-Denver) and another by Senator Andy McElhany (R-Colorado Springs)—that would impose tolls on the interstate leading through mountain communities to Colorado’s ski resorts.

Romer’s proposal includes using tolls to encourage carpooling and decrease traffic during peak travel times and to add bus service. McElhany’s would charge a $5 toll each way to raise money to widen the highway.

Legislators that represent the areas that would be affected were outraged at not having been consulted about the proposals by the bills’ sponsors.

“Both of these proposals were rushed through the process without any analysis on the environmental, economic and community impacts that would result from tolling I-70,” Scanlan said. “This is not the right way to serve the people of Colorado.”

“The communities in the mountains and foothills that I represent won’t stand for these toll proposals,” said Gibbs. “Our state and federal tax dollars pay for I-70, and it amounts to double taxation for these Front Range legislators to stick their hands in our pockets too. The senators pushing these tolls want an easier cruise up to the mountains to go skiing on the weekends. The folks that will be hit hardest here are the people that actually live and work along this artery and depend on it to move goods and to go about their daily lives.”

Romer’s bill was killed on a 5-2 committee vote, but McElhany’s was approved 5-2 and now advances to the Senate Appropriations Committee.