The state of Colorado has been facing an ever expanding budget shortfall, and there is little recovery in sight. State agencies have avoided filling job vacancies and have made additional staff cuts. Some state services and programs have been decreased or even eliminated.
The state has raised fees and withheld tax breaks. But, revenue is not coming in. Colorado has faired better than most states, but the recession has had a substantial impact. People are out of work and spending less, so tax revenue is growing scarce.
Colorado needs innovative ideas to raise revenue, so that the state can continue to provide the services the people need.
One new idea from left-field I’ve had is to create a Colorado speed pass for drivers. Drivers would be able to buy a monthly pass that would allow them to drive over the speed limit on state and interstate highways.
The speed pass would mechanically operate similarly to a toll pass. Drivers would put a transmitter in their car that would send a signal to a receiver in police and highway patrol cars. Drivers could renew their speed pass online each month.
Of course, speed limits are set to help ensure drivers’ safety, so precautions will be necessary. In order to qualify for the speed pass, a driver would be required to have a valid driver’s license and to be ticket free for six months.
Drivers would still be subject to reckless driving tickets. Speeding excessively in poor weather conditions, following too closely, excessive weaving, and other reckless tactics would still be causes to be pulled over.
The price for the pass is uncertain, but it could probably go for a couple hundred dollars a month. The speed pass would create additional revenue, would improve driver satisfaction, and would enable law enforcement to focus on other issues.
The speed pass idea may need some revision and might be pretty far-fetched, but we need to start brainstorming somewhere.
The legislative session starting on January 13, 2010, should be interesting.