Polis signs bipartisan bills addressing roadways, renewable energy

PROMO Government - Colorado Capitol Building Denver - iStock - kuosumo
Published Friday, April 23, 2021
by Robert Davis | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) - Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed three bipartisan bills on Thursday that address issues ranging from renewable energy to local roadways.

Senate Bill 21-084 allows local governments to prohibit trucks and commercial vehicles from driving on roughed-in roads, which are areas of road that have been cut with the intention of making a highway, but have not been improved.

The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Jim Smallwood, R-Parker, and Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield.

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PROMO 64J1 People - Jared Polis Colorado Governor Politician
Jared Polis - elected Governor of Colorado in November 2018.

Douglas County Commissioner Laura Thomas said the increased risk of wildfires made the bill necessary. Now, counties can require that only property owners can use roughed-in roads.

Gray said the bill will also help counties such as Broomfield and Douglas that are undergoing a lot of roadway construction.

"These roads are actually more dangerous than paved roads, so it doesn't make a lot of sense that counties can't provide protection for their drivers," he said.

Polis also signed two bills that he said "support the renewable energy transition" and will help Colorado gain more investments from renewable energy providers.

House Bill 21-1052 , sponsored by Rep. Hugh McKean, R-Loveland, and Sen. Bob Woodward, R-Loveland, removed existing restrictions on pumped hydroelectricity being considered a renewable energy for the purposes of meeting the state's energy goals. 

Similarly, Senate Bill 21-020 updates the tax treatment of certain renewable energy utilities such as battery storage devices in property tax calculations. 

Property assessors are currently required to valuate properties with these units using an "income approach" which accounts for a 20-year depreciation period.

The bill increases that timeframe to 30 years and requires assessors to use a "cost approach" to make the taxable income from these properties more stable. 

The bill was sponsored by Sens. Chris Hansen, D-Denver, and Dennis Hisey, R-Fountain, and Reps. Alex Valdez, D-Denver, and Matt Soper, R-Delta.

Hansen said he was both "excited" and "proud" for Polis to sign the bill.

"All of us believe in creating more investment opportunities, more jobs, and expanding opportunities in the state," Hansen said at the bill signing.

"I think this is a really appropriate adjustment to battery storage of renewable energy equipment that will really accelerate this part of our economy over the next few years," he added.

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