Colorado Test Fixed Guideway Act, Amendment 26 (2001)
Amendment 26 would have allowed the expenditure of $50 million of surplus state revenue to plan and test a fixed guideway transportation system for the I-70 corridor linking Denver International Airport and Eagle County Airport; and exempted the Colorado Intermountain Fixed Guideway Authority from state constitutional revenue and spending limitations.
The language that appeared on the ballot:
The proposed amendment to the Colorado Revised Statutes allows the expenditure of $50 million of surplus state revenue to plan and test a fixed guideway transportation system for the I-70 corridor linking Denver International Airport and Eagle County Airport; and exempts the Colorado Intermountain Fixed Guideway Authority from state constitutional revenue and spending limitations.
Surplus state revenue. The state constitution limits annual growth in most state revenue to the sum of the annual percentage changes in inflation and population. Revenue above this limit must be refunded to taxpayers unless the voters allow the state to keep and spend all or a portion of the surplus state revenue. The proposal asks voters to allow the Colorado Intermountain Fixed Guideway Authority to spend $50 million of the $927 million surplus from last year. Spending this $50 million would reduce an individual taxpayer's estimated average tax refund of $221 by about $19 and a couple's estimated refund of $442 by about $38 in 2002.
Transportation studies for the I-70 mountain corridor. In 1998, the Colorado Department of Transportation completed a study of alternative strategies for increasing traffic capacity in the I-70 mountain corridor. This initial study recommended the construction of a high-speed "fixed guideway system" as a long-term alternative for the corridor, plus a program of additional roadway improvements in the near term. In 2004, the Department of Transportation will complete a second study that will fully evaluate transportation options for I-70 and will determine the appropriate solution for the corridor. Examples of fixed guideway systems include light rail trains, passenger rail trains, and monorails.
The Colorado Intermountain Fixed Guideway Authority. The state legislature created the Colorado Intermountain Fixed Guideway Authority in 1998. The Authority was directed to analyze fixed guideway technologies and to develop a plan for the design, financing, and construction of a fixed guideway system in the I-70 corridor from Denver International Airport (DIA) to Eagle County Airport.
The Authority evaluated potential fixed guideway technologies and decided to pursue testing of a high-speed, elevated monorail system that relies on magnetic propulsion and braking and is designed to climb steep grades at high speeds. The proposal requires the $50 million of surplus revenue to be spent on testing the monorail's motor and vehicles and on verifying construction and operating costs. Funding for construction of the line would be sought at a later date. The proposal gives the Authority three years to test the monorail system, and testing must occur at the national rail technology test center in Pueblo. If the entire $50 million is not spent before January 1, 2005, the balance must be returned to the state.
If a monorail line is built, it would run from DIA to Eagle County Airport, making stops on its route across metropolitan Denver and through the mountain communities along I-70. In that case, the Authority expects to build the first segment of the line between DIA and downtown Denver.
The Authority is governed by a 12-member board, which is appointed by the Governor, the leadership of the state legislature, and the governing bodies of cities and counties within the Authority's territory: the cities of Denver and Aurora, and Clear Creek, Jefferson, Eagle, Garfield, and Summit counties. The board is comprised of a member of the Colorado Transportation Commission and members of various professions and industries, including the transportation and tourism industries.
The estimated fiscal statement for Amendment 26 said:
- The proposal requests voter approval for the state to retain $50 million in surplus state revenues collected last budget year. Under current law, these surplus state revenues are required to be refunded to taxpayers in 2002. Under this proposal, the moneys would be transferred from the state General Fund to the Colorado Intermountain Fixed Guideway Authority. It is estimated that the proposal will reduce state taxpayer refunds by an average of $19 per person or $38 per couple in 2002.
- Details of Amendment 26
- Amendment 26 Fiscal Impact Statement
- Blue Book on Amendment 26
- Secretary of State's 2001 Ballot Measure Information
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