Colorado’s I-70 Toll Bill Shut Down

Colorado’s I-70 ski traffic is notoriously horrendous on the weekends. The state legislature has been trying to hammer out a fix to the problem for years now, and the most recent effort was a bill to charge drivers five dollars each way between Floyd Hill and the Eisenhower-Johnson tunnel. However, the bill was effectively shut down on April 24th.

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According to a recent article in The Denver Post:
The last remaining plan to put tolls on Interstate 70 to relieve congestion collapsed today into a heap of chuckles.

Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany, a Colorado Springs Republican who sponsored the plan to charge $5 tolls near the Eisenhower Tunnel, laid over his bill until May 26 — Memorial Day — effectively killing it because the legislature will be adjourned by then.

“When you’re sitting in the traffic jams that day,” McElhany said to his colleagues with a mischievous smile, “just think about the $5 you could have paid to be out of it.”

Sen. Chris Romer, a Denver Democrat who introduced the other tolling plan, said McElhany’s bill was one vote short in the Senate.

A handful of Senators followed McElhany to the lectern, gleefully shoveling dirt on his bill.

“I’d be happy to support this as soon as we see a toll booth on Monument Hill,” said Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, referring to the hill McElhany drives over on Interstate 25 to get home.

And so ended one of the most eye-catching debates at the Capitol this year, in which two separate proposals for using tolls on I-70 to raise money for fixing the highway were introduced and both met fierce opposition from mountain communities who thought they were stupid.

Though, the end today will likely only bring an interlude in the I-70 tolling fistfight.

Romer said he will bring up the issue next year.