ALERT - Colorado selling off roads to Goldman Sachs and Australian Toll Road Company - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 02-09-2014   #1
 
Andy H.'s Avatar
 
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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ALERT - Colorado selling off roads to Goldman Sachs and Australian Toll Road Company

I don't like to get political on the Buzz, but this really gets my ire up.

Remember voting to increase our vehicle fees to support better roads and transportation? Well this week, starting with US 36, nine Colorado public highways will be sold to foreign toll road firms over the next 12 months. Roads like I-70 in downtown Denver/mountains, C-470 and I-25 from Denver to Ft. Collins could all be privatized and tolled.

This will all be done without consent of our elected representatives unless they can strip the State Privatization Board (WTF??) of the authority to make sweetheart deals selling off our state resources to private companies.

Please call your elected representatives ASAP to ask them to strip the State Privatization Board of the authority to make these deals.

Here's more info, with links to contact your elected representatives.

And get this - the contract also prevents the state of Colorado and towns from constructing new roads, upgrading new roads or improving mass transit options that impact toll revenue. So if Broomfield or Louisville improve roads that commuters may take instead of US 36, they'll have to compensate the toll company for 50 years for lost revenue.

This stinks.

-AH

Some details:
  • Nine Colorado public highways being sold to foreign toll road firms over the next 12 months starting with US 36.
  • I-70 in downtown Denver/mountains, C-470 and I-25 from Denver to Ft. Collins are all being privatized and tolled.
  • Round trip from Denver to Boulder will cost up to $28 in the express lane during rush hour. Toll cost is indexed to inflation and will rise much higher over the next half century.
  • The amount of profit Goldman Sachs and Plenary will make from US 36 is a CDOT secret that is being kept from the Colorado taxpayers and elected officials.
  • The expensive toll lane addition will mean highly congested free lanes. It will become illegal for the state of Colorado to add additional free lanes to US 36 without compensating the toll operator for 50 years of decreased toll revenue.
  • Colorado elected officials are not being allowed to review the secret 50 year contract terms before the state privatization board, the HPTE, signs the contract.
  • CDOT is lying to the public and elected officials. CDOT claimed Jan 23 in the Denver Post that the 50 year legally binding US 36 contract can be amended at anytime. This is a lie.If the US 36 contract is changed or the toll lane removed, Colorado will be legally obligated to pay Goldman Sachs and Australian shareholders 50 years of toll revenue- a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of millions or billions of dollars.
  • If an emergency closes Highway 36 for more than 12 hours in a year, taxpayers will be required to compensate the toll road operator until the highway is reopened. In the southern US, toll roads force the state governments to pay tolls during hurricane evacuations.
  • Wages of CDOT snow plow drivers and highway workers will be slashed by as much as half, with benefits and pensions likely eliminated to increase Goldman Sachs and shareholder profits.
  • Like a scene from the Hunger Games, the private toll road operator and the state privatization board can order CDOT to take action against Colorado citizens protesting tolls.
  • It will be illegal for surrounding communities to upgrade roads or transit systems around US 36 in any way that reduces tolls for Goldman Sachs and the Australian toll road developer, Plenary Group unless Colorado pays 50 years of toll compensation.
  • To boost toll revenues, HOV cars with a driver plus passenger will soon have to pay tolls to use the US 36 or I-25 express lanes.
  • Senator Matt Jones and 14 Colorado elected lawmakers including Senate President Morgan Carroll have signed a letter requesting a 60 day hold on the US 36 privatization contract. CDOT has rejected the Senatorsí request and is racing to sign the 50 year contract before public outrage can stop the deal.

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Old 02-09-2014   #2
 
Helena, Montana
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Insanity
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Old 02-09-2014   #3
 
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Originally Posted by MountainMedic View Post
Insanity
No, just another step toward a corporate feudalist society.
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Old 02-10-2014   #4
 
Foco/Red Cliff (Vail), Colorado
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It would be illegal to toll I-70 going up to Vail. You cannot have a toll road when it is the only road to the area.

Either way... BS
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Old 02-10-2014   #5
 
Denver, Colorado
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This blows. Thanks for bringing it up Andy.

In my humble option, roads and large scale infrastructure is one of the few things that I think our government should be obligated to do. Privitizing this for profit just stinks. Total bullshit.
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Old 02-10-2014   #6
 
Louisville, Colorado
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Contact information for legislators:

Colorado General Assembly

Click on the name for email address.
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Old 02-10-2014   #7
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milehighassassin View Post
It would be illegal to toll I-70 going up to Vail. You cannot have a toll road when it is the only road to the area.

Either way... BS

The existing lanes would not be toll, but any added lanes (Lexus Lanes) can be toll.
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Old 02-10-2014   #8
 
Foco/Red Cliff (Vail), Colorado
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Update:

Lawmakers ask for details about US 36 contract | 9news.com
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Old 02-11-2014   #9
Old Guy in a PFD
 
Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Well, lots of questions from this, but let me see if I understand;

So CDOT sees the need to widen/improve highways like US 36, I-70 and 270. They have a bit of a budget crunch however, so they turn to private companies.

These companies agree to put up 60% of the cost of improvements and they'll plow snow off the roads in return for the right to charge a toll for the next 50 years.

They won't charge a toll on the existing road/lanes, just what they build.

This is common in places like California; you want to go fast, you pay your money. You got time to poke along with the rest of the rabble, you stay off the express lanes.

As a concept I have no problem with this. I mean, you can pay the feds or you can pay a private company. Ain't no free lunch.

Am I the only one that remembers how US 36 was built/improved and it was a toll road for something like 10 years?

But I know the devil is in the details. I got questions still.
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Old 02-11-2014   #10
 
Foco/Red Cliff (Vail), Colorado
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postponed:

Colorado Department of Transportation faces scrutiny over Highway 36 leasing plans | 9news.com
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