DENVER (AP) – Colorado needs more recreational bike trails — just not a change to how they’re paid for, lawmakers from both parties agreed Thursday as they voted down a bill to direct more Colorado Lottery money to bike trails along state highways.
A senator from rural Alamosa County suggested a bill to use Colorado Lottery money for recreational bike trails. As cyclists before the Senate finance committee agreed Thursday, Alamosa is one of the worst areas for highway cycling in the state.
Sen. Larry Crowder argued that his bill could help lay new cycling paths in his area. He cited the popular Pedal The Plains summer cycling event in rural eastern Colorado, saying similar cycling events aren’t feasible in his county because of scant highway shoulders.
“What I’m looking for is some additional help” to add bike lanes, Crowder said.
Other lawmakers were sympathetic, but they called the plan unworkable. The Legislature is barred from directing spending decisions at Great Outdoors Colorado, one of the Lottery’s beneficiaries.
The head of Great Outdoors Colorado, Lise Aangeenbrug, said the agency has spent $40 million in the last five years building trails. She opposed the bill, saying it isn’t necessary and that the state constitution bars the funding change.
“We don’t believe the bill is necessary, because we do fund trails,” Aangeenbrug said.
The bill failed 5-0.
“This is a really crucial thing to do; I just don’t think the constitution allows us to do it,” said Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver.
Gov. John Hickenlooper has said he wants to see a bike trail from the Wyoming state line to New Mexico completed within the next five years.
(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)