Capitol Conversation: Five Weeks In, Transportation Funding Debate Continues

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3min 31sec

Colorado is roughly a third of the way through the four-month long legislative session. John Frank, a reporter for The Denver Post, and Peter Marcus with sat down with statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland to take stock of the big issues this session.

Here are highlights from our conversation:           

On some of the controversial measures that have been defeated:

Frank: A lot of these bills are pretty interesting and do have their own constituencies...For instance we had the national popular vote bill which had a new momentum after the 2016 election of course, when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the White House. We saw other bills that dealt with immigration. We're seeing a lot of things tie into the national political mood right now.

On how the Republicans and Democrats are handling talks on transportation funding:

Marcus: Senate Republicans have kind of been the adults in the room when it comes to the transportation funding issues. In the House we kind of saw it go sideways. We saw Crisanta Duran elevate the conversation by connecting transportation funding to education. We saw House Republicans respond with a very strong statement saying it seems like Democrats have given up.

On whether time is running out for a significant transportation fix:

Frank: It's often the case in the 120-day legislative session, of which we're a third through, that these issues come to fruition at the very end. But they have to start making progress, and it has gotten so tough, particularly on the negotiations on transportation that the Governor put a kind of arbitrary deadline on there saying, 'do something by the end of March, or else.'

Capitol Coverage is a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.