Colorado transportation bonds bill heads to House

Colorado’s Senate unanimously approved a bill to ask voters in 2019 if the state can issue $3.5 billion in bonds for roads and bridges.

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Speer Boulevard seen from The Confluence Denver, Oct. 26, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Speer Boulevard seen from The Confluence Denver, Oct. 26, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Colorado’s Republican-led Senate has unanimously approved a bill to ask voters in 2019 if the state can issue $3.5 billion in bonds for roads and bridges.

The bill approved Wednesday also makes a one-time payment of $500 million for transportation.

It now goes to the Democrat-led House, where leaders object to using tax dollars to back bonds. They cite pressing needs in education funding.

Voters would decide whether to spend $250 million annually to back the bonds, which are expected to cost up to $5 billion over 20 years.

The bonds would replace nearly $1.9 billion in transportation bonds lawmakers agreed to issue last year. Those were backed by leasing out state buildings.

Colorado has a $9 billion backlog in roads projects.