CDOT outlines financial woes for Moffat County Commissioners
Regional officials launch public awareness campaign in hopes of gas tax increase
In other action...
At its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Moffat County Commission:
• Approved, 3-0, hiring a self-sufficiency caseworker for the Moffat County Department of Social Services.
• Approved, 3-0, hiring an assistant for the housing authority.
• Approved, 3-0, a request to waive the bid process for a water tank for road and bridge.
• Approved, 3-0, writing a letter of support to have the speed limit reduced from 65 mph to 45 mph on Colorado Highway 13 near the intersection of Pineridge Drive.
• Discussed waiving the fees at the Moffat County Fairgrounds for the Colorado Taxidermist Association’s 2013 Colorado State Taxidermy Championships in Craig.
The Colorado Department of Transportation is broke.
Maybe not completely broke, CDOT does have an operating budget of $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2013, but according to one official the agency responsible for maintaining more than 23,000 lane miles in Colorado is having difficulty keeping pace with increasing reconstruction needs.
During a presentation Tuesday before the Moffat County Commission Mark Eike, CDOT deputy superintendent for the northwest Colorado region, said the bulk of CDOT’s infrastructure is in a state of disrepair.
The Craig City Council received the same presentation during a workshop before its meeting last week.
The problem, Eike said, is unlike previous years when CDOT received money from Colorado’s general fund to help curb the expense of road reconstruction projects nearly CDOT’s entire 2013 budget was generated by its 60 percent share of the state’s gasoline tax.
Currently motorists pay 40.4 cents in taxes on every gallon purchased at the pump, 18.4 cents in federal taxes and 22 cents in state taxes.
That state rate was adopted and has remained unaltered since 1992, Eike said, and has not kept up with the rate of inflation that has significantly raised construction costs during the past 20 years.
According to recent estimates, a two-inch overlay costs about $275,000 per lane mile, an interchange runs about $25 million and a complete road reconstruction costs about $750,000 per lane mile.
CDOT also estimates about one-third of its highways need to be replaced, including Colorado Highway 13.
But less than one percent, $2.5 million, of CDOT’s $1.2 billion budget is earmarked to expand capacity.
Without additional funds it would be years before CDOT could tackle a Colorado Highway 13 reconstruction project, Eike said.
Eike and CDOT officials around the state are in the process of presenting this information to the public in response to rumors legislation could be proposed during the next session of the Colorado General Assembly to increase the gasoline tax, likely by about 10 cents.
Surprisingly one of Moffat County’s commissioners thinks a sales tax increase is necessary.
“A lot of you in the room know me as a pretty conservative guy, but I see the fuel tax as a use tax,” said Commissioner Tom Gray. “If you drive a big F350 100,000 miles a year, you’re doing more damage to the roads than someone who drives a moped 50 miles a year, but at the end of the day both people are paying their fair share.”
If a bill is proposed and passed by the House and Senate a gasoline tax increase would need to be approved by a vote of the people in accordance with the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org