By Jeffrey A. Roberts
CFOIC Executive Director
At the urging of construction interests and metro-area governments, Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday vetoed a bill intended, in part, to shine more light on public-private partnerships to finance future transportation projects.
But while Hickenlooper rejected the measure for “inappropriately” constraining the business terms of “P3” deals, he also signed an executive order implementing the transparency provisions of SB 14-197, which the CFOIC supported in a letter to the governor last month.
His order provides steps to ensure that the public is sufficiently notified, and given ample opportunities to comment, during key stages of future public-private transportation projects.
Sen. Matt Jones, D-Louisville, introduced SB 14-197 after it became clear that members of the public affected by the U.S. 36 toll-lane expansion project did not feel adequately informed about important financial aspects of a 50-year agreement between the Colorado Department of Transportation and Plenary Roads Denver, a consortium of six companies.
Hickenlooper received veto requests from 48 people, including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, several other metro-area mayors and several county commissioners. Others representing construction and economic development interests also urged a veto because of provisions in the bill requiring oversight by the legislature.
“SB 14-197 departs from the state’s policy of enabling P3s as a financing alternative,’’ the governor’s veto message says. “In so doing, it restricts future P3 opportunities by discouraging investment in Colorado, eliminating cost-saving alternatives for delivering core infrastructure, and curbing economic development opportunities.”
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