DENVER (CBS4)– Any plan to improve Colorado roads will likely be decided by voters as lawmakers continue to struggle to find a solution for expanding and improving our state’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Although neither side says they’re abandoning all hope, it doesn’t look good.

Copter4 flew over the state Capitol (credit: CBS)

The bill being debated asks voters to approve a tax increase for roads across the state.

“What I would ask to anyone who is voting against this bill, is how can you turn your back on all these people, all these organizations,” said House Speaker Crisanta Duran, a Democrat representing Denver.

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Duran pleaded with Senate Republicans to pass the $3.5 billion deal. Their reply is that no deal is better than a bad deal.

“[Bill] 1242 is probably on life support,” said Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, the number two ranking Republican in the Senate.

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He says the bill lakes specificity and accountability, not to mention the tax hike is a non-starter.

“I think there’s money in our budget without raising taxes, that we can actually fix roads, do what we need to do,” said Sonnenberg.

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Democrats disagree.

“I think we see something emerge from the ashes,” said Sandra Hagen Solin with Fix Colorado Roads, a coalition of chambers of commerce across Colorado.

She believes a new bill is likely.

Traffic on I-70 (credit: CBS)

Meantime, Duran is not giving up, “We’re going to do everything we possibly can to find common ground.”

If the legislature doesn’t refer a measure to voters, there are options.

“There is always opportunity to pursue it directly with voters,” said Solin.

“Quite frankly, when the legislature doesn’t do its job, it’s time for people to petition their government and I support that,” said Sonnenberg.

The bill remains stalled in committee with three weeks to go in the session.