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Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on June 4th vetoed Senate Bill 14-197 "Transportation Enterprise Transparency Act" and signed an Executive Order that will improve transparency, accountability and openness relating to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) High-performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE).
Hickenlooper wrote in a letter to the Colorado Senate:
We firmly believe that government should always strive to be transparent and accountable. We support SB 14-197's provisions that improve transparency, accountability, and openness in public-private partnerships.Unfortunately, SB 14-197 is not just a transparency bill - it also inappropriately constrains the business terms of future P3 agreements. These constraints on business terms would create a chilling component on future transactions, making investors unlikely or unwilling to bid on Colorado projects due to the increased risks this process would generate.
Senate Bill 14-197 was prompted after critics attacked the 50-year contract signed by the Colorado Department of Transportation with Plenary Roads Denver for the management and collection of tolls on U.S. 36 Managed Lanes project. They claimed the pact was done largely in secret and the length of the deal was too long.
State Representative Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, said SB 197 was an attempt by Democrats and Republicans to protect the rights of taxpayers. He said:
"Public-private partnerships must have the support of the people and their elected representatives. Presenting a deal to the public and its representatives after completion won't gain that support."
In late April we reported that Bill 117 was introduced in the legislature aiming to open toll roads to greater public review in the state of Colorado (USA). The bill, spearheaded by state Sen. Matt Jones, a Louisville Democrat, was also largely in response to the controversial U.S. 36 Managed Lanes project .