About CDOT

State Funding Sources

State Funding Sources

The major source of state revenue for CDOT is the Highway Users Tax Fund (HUTF). Almost three-fourths of the HUTF is funded through Colorado’s motor fuel tax, which is 22 cents per gallon of gasoline and 20.5 cents per gallon of diesel fuel.  The remaining funding is collected through motor vehicle registration fees, surcharges, license fees, and traffic citation fines.  Under the HUTF state law, transportation revenue is split between CDOT, counties, and cities. 

  • For state gas taxes under seven cents, traffic citation penalties and fines, license plate fees, and other charges and fees, revenue is credited 65% to CDOT, 26% to counties, and 9% to cities 
  • For state gas taxes above seven cents and revenue collected under Senate Bill 09-108 (FASTER), revenue is credited 60% to CDOT, 22% to counties, and 18% to municipalities

Prior to distribution to CDOT, the General Assembly appropriates “off-the-top” money from the HUTF to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Colorado State Patrol and the Department of Revenue (DOR) Division of Motor Vehicles. State law requires that “off-the-top” appropriations cannot increase by more than 6% annually over the prior year’s appropriation by the General Assembly. The following flowchart illustrates the flow of transportation revenue from collection to expenditure by CDOT, counties, and cities.HUTF Flow Chart

SB 09-108 (FASTER)
In 2009, the General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 09-108, the Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery Act of 2009 (FASTER).  FASTER established new revenue sources for state, county, and city transportation projects by implementing and increasing a number of vehicle surcharges and fees.  The fees included: the road safety surcharge; bridge safety surcharge, oversize/overweight vehicle supplemental fee; daily rental vehicle fee; and late vehicle registration fee.  All revenue from these fees, except the bridge safety surcharge, is allocated by formula to CDOT, counties, and cities.  Bridge safety surcharge revenue is credited to the Bridge Special Fund to pay for bridge replacements and reconstruction projects, as discussed below.

Road Safety Fund
FASTER established the Road Safety Fund.  The fund dollars are allocated based on the HUTF statutory formula:  60% to CDOT, 22% to counties and 18% to municipalities.  Under Section 43-4-803(21), C.R.S., eligible road safety projects are defined as construction, reconstruction or maintenance that the Transportation Commission determines is needed to enhance the safety of a state highway, a county determines is needed to enhance the safety of a county road, or a municipality determines is needed to enhance the safety of a city street.

Bridge Safety Surcharge (Bridge Special Fund)
FASTER also created the Bridge Special Fund, codified at Section 43-4-805(3) (a), C.R.S., supported by the Bridge Safety Surcharge.   To accelerate delivery of repairs to the state’s poor bridges and take advantage of historically low interest rates and construction costs, the Enterprise issued $300 million in bonds in December 2010.  Absent bonding, the time necessary for the Enterprise to repair the designated poor bridges is double that with bonding, with associated costs to Colorado’s economy and citizens that would be avoided by bonding. 

As of June 2015, there were 138 bridges in the program. Of this amount, 73 bridge projects are complete and 37 are in construction or design. A list and map of all bridge projects in the program and their current status are available here.

Improvements to poor bridges are funded through a Bridge Safety Surcharge based on vehicle weight; heavy vehicles pay a larger surcharge whereas lighter weight vehicles remit a lower surcharge. The fee is reduced by half for farm vehicles and not imposed on rental vehicles if they pay the vehicle rental fee. After passage of FASTER, the fees were incrementally phased in over a three year period beginning in 2009. Today, the fee is fully phased-in.

Multi-Modal & Transit
FASTER established provisions for multi-modal transit, projects (Section 43-4-812, C.R.S.).  This legislation allows for fees collected by the High-Performance Transportation Enterprise, a Public Highway Authority, or a Regional Transportation Authority to be used for transit-related projects that relate to the maintenance and supervision of the highway segment or highway lanes on which the user fee or toll is imposed.


Capital Construction Funds (House Bill 95-1174)
In 1995, the Colorado General Assembly enacted House Bill 95-1174 requiring the Transportation Commission to annually submit to the Capital Development Committee (CDC) a prioritized list of state highway reconstruction, repair, and maintenance projects for possible funding with Capital Construction Funds.  Prior to 1995, CDOT was not eligible to receive Capital Construction Funds as these funds were reserved for non-transportation-related capital improvements like state buildings.CDOT last received HB 95-1174 funds in FY 2008-09.

Senate Bill 09-228
In 2009, the legislature enacted Senate Bill 09-228, which established triggers to transfer money to transportation, capital construction, and the statutory reserve. Under the bill, once a five-percent personal income growth rate is met, a five-year transfer of General Funds will occur to transportation totaling two-percent of General Fund revenues – approximately $170 million with 10% for transit.  This law also maintains a six-percent growth limit on HUTF off-the-top-transfers.

This bill eliminated the Arveschoug-Bird six-percent annual growth in spending limit which factored into Senate Bill 97-001, House Bill 02-1310 and Capital Construction dollars.  In the current fiscal year, CDOT does not anticipate funds being made available for transportation under this new law for the foreseeable future.

CDOT at a Glance
  • * Maintains, repairs and plows over 23,000 total lane miles of highway
  • * Maintains 3,447 bridges
  • * Oversees 28 billion miles of vehicle travel annually
  • * Plows about 6 million lane miles each year
  • * Spends $69 million annually on snow removal
  • * Keeps over 35 mountains passes open year-round
  • * Monitors 278 of 522 avalanche paths
  • * Administers about $11 million in federal grants for transit operators and $41 million in federal aviation grants for airports
  • * Manages over $5 million in federal grants for safe driving programs
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