U.S. needs a mileage-based tax to boost transportation funding

An economy can grow only as fast as its transportation system can move it. Unfortunately, political gridlock in Washington threatens Colorado’s prosperity. The federal Highway Trust Fund, which provides funding for highway and public transportation projects, will run out of money this summer during the heart of construction season — halting numerous projects and forcing layoffs across the state.

If Congress does not act soon, Colorado will lose $200 million in federal transportation funds next year with more losses in the future, possibly costing the state more than 2,500 heavy construction and related jobs. A rapid drop in federal support will eliminate many needed projects, virtually guaranteeing additional roadway congestion, fewer transportation options, and a more dysfunctional system that pushes businesses out of state.

For decades, the federal government — for all its imperfections — has served as a strong partner, providing funding and a commitment to help Colorado achieve its vision for the future. Without this support, Colorado and the Denver metro area would look very different today — hampered by insufficient infrastructure and facing a more uncertain economic future.

This article was originally published in The Denver Post.