Colorado Highways:
Colorado Tolling Enterprise Tollways

During its 2002 session, the Colorado Legislature created the Colorado Tolling Enterprise (CTE) as part of CDOT. The CTE law empowered the enterprise to finance, construct, operate and maintain highway facilities in Colorado and have tolls on those facilities. The facilities that CTE builds and places tolls on can be either in existing corridors or in new corridors. However, any improvements to an existing corridor cannot result in new tolls on presently free, general purpose lanes. CTE was governed by a board elected by the Colorado Transportation Commission.

The one major project CTE completed is the coversion of the north Denver I-25 HOV lanes to HOT lanes, launched on June 2, 2006. The "I-25 Express Lanes" are two barrier-separated lanes than run from 20th Street north to US 36. The lanes run south in the morning and north in the evening. The lanes are free for HOVs and toll for single occupancy vehicles. Paying a toll requires an ExpressToll transponder. The toll is variable depending on the time of day.

The one other project that CTE undertook was the remainder of Denver's beltway from Golden to US 36/Interlocken, referred to as the Northwest Corridor. Some of the cities and counties involved were going to form a Public Highway Authority to build the Northwest Corridor, but CTE took it under its wing in 2003. CTE attempted to conduct an environmental study, with initially the idea being CTE would build a tollway if that was the preferred alternative. However, in June 2008 CDOT threw in the towel on the study. Due to lack of future funding and the inability of those involved to reach consensus, the study was halted.

CTE undertook a toll route feasibility study to determine what corridors in the state would be good candidates for a new toll road or toll lanes on an existing road. The corridors were scored based traffic volume to capacity ratio, truck traffic, projects planned, and projected population growth along the corridor. At the first round of study in 2003 the corridors were scored into two levels. Those corridors were then whittled further for a 2004 study.

In January 2005 the board was presented with these findings showing the financial feasibility of potential toll corridors:

Feasible toll corridors (toll revenue pays for costs)

Almost feasible toll corridors (toll revenue does not cover all costs, a subsidy would be required)
Not feasible:
During its 2009 session, the Colorado Legislature created the High Performance Transportation Enterprise within CDOT. The HPTE is tasked with finding alternative ways to fund projects, through tolling, public-private partnerships, etc. The HPTE replaced CTE, and CTE no longer exists. The only tolling project completed under the CTE/HPTE banner remains the I-25 Express Lanes.

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Page created 15 August 2003
Last updated 13 November 2010