Monday, March 26, 2007


Ritter also names 30-member transportation panel
as well as technical advisory committee


Gov. Bill Ritter today announced the full agenda for his upcoming "Bridges to the 21st Century" Statewide Transportation Summit on April 5, including presentations by U.S. Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Tyler Duvall, Dr. Marty Wachs of the Rand Corp. and many other transportation experts.
Registration for the summit is now underway. The summit is open to the public but pre-registration is required. Participants can register online by going to  or mailing a $40 check to the Colorado Department of Transportation, Terry Huddleston, Transportation Summit, 4201 E. Arkansas Ave., Denver, CO  80222. Registration also will be accepted at the door from 8 to 9 a.m. April 5. The summit is being held at the ColoradoConvention Center, Korbel Ballroom, 700 14th St.
CDOT Executive Director Russell George will deliver opening remarks at 9 a.m., followed by Gov. Ritter, who will deliver the charge and mission to the new Colorado Transportation Finance and Implementation Panel.
"Colorado's transportation system is at a crucial crossroads," Ritter said. "Our primary sources of federal and state transportation revenues are not keeping pace with rising maintenance and construction costs. Demand and population also are on the rise.
"We must explore new ways to prioritize our transportation needs and secure sustainable funding sources for a 21st Century transportation system," the governor added. "Our quality of life, our economy and our future require a multi-modal transportation network that allows us to safely and efficiently move people, goods and services. This panel will set us on the road to overcoming our challenges, and the first step will be the 'Bridges to the 21st Century' summit."
In addition to presentations by Duvall and Wachs, the summit will outline transportation needs and funding challenges at the state, county and municipal levels. The agenda includes five breakout sessions:
·        What are the options? CDOT Study on Revenue Options.
·        Measuring the Pulse. Electronic voting exercise.
·        Is Today as Good as it Gets? Presentation on current levels of service and outlook over the next 10 years.
·        Brainstorming a Transportation Vision for Colorado.  Presentation by the authors of the "Transportation Principles."
·        Transportation, Livable Communities and the New Energy Economy. 
Gov. Ritter today also signed an Executive Order formally establishing the Colorado Transportation Finance and Implementation Panel.
"The panel will enable us to determine project priorities and identify strategies to fund those projects," the Executive Order states. "The panel will evaluate current spending practices; assess the transportation fiscal structure, funding and priority-setting processes; and propose new funding mechanisms and priorities for existing and future projects."
In addition to the April 5 statewide summit, the panel will hold regional meetings around the state over the spring and summer. It will submit a final report recommending project priorities and funding strategies in November.
Ritter last month named the three co-chairs of the panel. Today, he named the remaining members as well as a technical advisory committee:
Panel Co-Chairs
Doug Aden, Colorado Transportation Commission Chairman
Cary Kennedy, Colorado State Treasurer
Bob Tointon, President, Phelps-Tointon, Inc.

Panel Members
Ray Baker
Charles Bedford
Joe Blake
Mike Cheroutes
Ken Conyers
Cas Garcia
Bill Elfenbein (RTD Board Member)
James Hume
Mick Ireland
Leslie Jones
Joe Kiley
Carl Maxey
Mark Mehalko
Tony Milo
Dale Mingilton
Kevin O'Malley
Michael Penny
Joe Rice (State Representative)
Cathy Shull
Paul Smith
Vivian Stovall
Dan Stuart
Ed Tauer (Mayor of Aurora)
Will Toor
Stephanie Takis (State Senator)
Glenn Vaad (State Representative)
Melanie Worley
Technical Advisors
Debra Baskett
Dan Blankenship
Dr. Ray Chamberlain
Tom Fischer
Carol Hedges
Mike Johnson
Mark Larson
Cal Marsella
Bill Moore
Rachel Nance
Joe O'Dea
Flo Raitano
Henry Sobanet
Bill Vidal
Tamra Ward
Dee Weiser
Wayne Williams

Friday, March 23, 2007

State & National Leaders to Hold Colorado New Energy Summit Saturday


UPDATED: State & National Leaders to Hold Colorado New Energy Summit
DENVER, CO – United States Senator Ken Salazar, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Colorado Governor Bill Ritter will kickoff the second annual "Colorado New Energy Summit – 2007" at 9:00 AM Saturday, March 24, 2007 in the Wells Fargo Theatre in the Colorado Convention Center.  The three will lay out prospects for Colorado's New Energy Economy in the coming year and assess progress made over the past 12 months.
At 9:45 AM, Governor Ritter and Senator Salazar will introduce officials from Vestas Blades, the Denmark company that announced plans this week to build a $60 million manufacturing plant in Windsor.  Vestas will present a brief slide show demonstrating the manufacturing process for its 128-foot-long blades, which are used in wind turbines around the world.
This is the second renewable energy summit in two years in Colorado and it has three goals: 1) to increase understanding of the role of energy in America's national security and economic prosperity, 2) to provide information regarding energy research, development and production and 3) to discuss the next steps for energy in Colorado and the Nation. 
**NOTE FOR MEDIA ATTENDING: There will be a table for all members of the media to check-in and a designated seating area with access to audio outlets. 
The "Colorado New Energy Summit – 2007" agenda is available by clicking here.
The Colorado New Energy Summit – 2007 is Co-Sponsored by:
  • United States Senators Ken Salazar and Wayne Allard
  • United States Representatives Diana DeGette (CO-1), Mark Udall (CO-2), Doug Lamborn (CO-5), Marilyn Musgrave (CO-4), John Salazar (CO-3) and Ed Perlmutter (CO-7)
  • Governor Bill Ritter
  • Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper
  • Colorado Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald
  • Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff.
# # #

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Gov. Bill Ritter is scheduled to sign a bill on Thursday that will reinvest funds from Colorado's tobacco settlement money into health care for Colorado citizens.
Senate Bill 97, sponsored by House Majority Leader Alice Madden, D-Boulder, and Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, D-Coal Creek Canyon,  will allocate new dollars from the tobacco litigation settlement to help pay for programs such as indigent care, children's basic health care, treatment of drug and alcohol abuse, and mental health programs. The bill also restores funding to the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, which currently ranks 48thnationally in state support for medical schools.   
WHO:         Gov. Bill Ritter
                   House Majority Leader Alice Madden
                   Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald
WHAT:        Signing of SB 97
WHEN:       3 p.m. Thursday, March 22, 2007
WHERE:       West Foyer,  State Capitol

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

March 07 Ritter Budget Office forecasts

• After increasing 13.1 percent in FY 2005-06, gross General Fund revenues are forecast to
increase 6.1 percent in FY 2006-07 and 5.0 percent in FY 2007-08. A large increase in the forecast
for individual income taxes accounts for much of the difference from the December 2006 forecast.
Meanwhile, the sales and use tax forecasts were decreased slightly in FY 2006-07 to reflect the
impact of the holiday snowstorms.
• Cash fund revenues are forecast to decrease 3.9 percent in FY 2006-07 and increase 3.1 percent
in FY 2007-08. The forecasts for cash funds were not significantly altered from those presented in
December, except that the forecast for severance tax collections was lowered for FY 2006-07 and
FY 2007-08.
• Through FY 2008-09, the state will have enough General Fund revenue to maintain appropriations
growth of six percent and make a maximum Senate Bill 97-1 transfer to the Highway Users
Tax Fund. Additionally, the state will have excess reserves of $116.1 million in FY 2006-07, $107
million in FY 2007-08, and $0.5 million in FY 2008-09.
• For FY 2006-07, there is projected to be an additional $101.1 million for transportation and
$38.7 million for capital construction over figures presented in December 2006. For FY 2007-08,
the increases in the forecast for funds to transportation and capital are $202.1 million and
$35.7 million, respectively. Over the five-year forecast period, projected revenue to transportation
increased $856.3 million, while projected revenue to capital construction increased $74.6 million.
• Under the provisions of Referendum C, the State will retain $5.35 billion from FY 2005-06
through FY 2009-10. Therefore, there will not be a TABOR surplus during this five-year period.
However, a TABOR refund of $30.8 million is expected in FY 2010-11.


Gov. Bill Ritter issued the following statement today in response to a letter from Rep. Cory Gardner and other members of the General Assembly regarding natural-resources legislation:
"My administration has made every effort to listen to the concerns of the energy and resource-development industry. We understand how important this industry is to our economy and the value it brings to our state. Our intent is to balance the extraction of resources with the concerns the people of this state have expressed surrounding impacts to our water, air and land.
"Over the past five years, members of the public have lodged more than 1,500 complaints with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conversation Commission regarding those impacts.  
"By end of this year, the state will likely grant more than 6,000 new drilling permits, a doubling from just a few years ago. We will have received more than 33,000 permit applications. Colorado is in the midst of one of the largest energy-development cycles in decades, probably ever, and we must do all we can to protect the public's health and our environment.
"Harris Sherman, the executive director of the Department of Natural Resources, and other members of my administration have spent more than 30 hours in stakeholder meetings with the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the Colorado Petroleum Association and others interested parties regarding HB1341. We have spent twice that amount of time on the phone gathering input from and listening to stakeholders.
"We look forward to continuing this productive dialogue as the legislative process moves forward."


Gov. Bill Ritter today applauded the decision by Denmark-based Vestas to build a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Windsor as a significant step forward in establishing Colorado as a national and global renewable energy leader.


"I'm extremely pleased Vestas will build its first North American manufacturing facility here inColorado," Ritter said. "As the 11th windiest state in the country, we're building a New Energy Economy that will create jobs, preserve our environment and protect our national security."


Construction on the plant is expected to begin this spring, with production scheduled to start in early 2008. At full capacity, the plant will produce 1,200 wind-turbine blades per year and employ up to 464 people.


Ritter said his administration – especially the Office of Economic Development and International Trade and the Office of Energy Management and Conservation – worked closely with Vestas over the last several weeks to finalize the deal.


The governor also said the legislature's passage last week of House Bill 1281 – which requires the state's large utility companies to offer 20 percent renewable energy by 2020 – will entice other manufacturers to locate in Colorado.


"We are quickly making a name for ourselves as a state that's open for business in what will be one of the most important industries of the 21st Century," Ritter said. 




Gov. Bill Ritter today nominated former Denver Police Chief David Michaud to serve as chairman of the Colorado Parole Board. Michaud served as Denver's top law officer from 1992 to 1998.


"David truly understands the reforms we are trying to initiate to lower Colorado's unacceptably high prison recidivism and repeat offender rates," Gov. Ritter said. "He is a decorated law officer who will help keep the people of Colorado safe while bringing an unmatched mixture of skills, leadership and vision to the parole board."


Michaud joined the Denver Police Department in 1967 as a patrol officer, rising through the ranks as a detective, commander and division chief. As chief of police, he oversaw 1,400 sworn officers, 300 support personnel and a budget in excess of $100 million.


Since retiring from the department, Michaud has worked as a consultant to the District Attorney's Office in the 10th Judicial District and the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo.


The governor nominated Michaud to a three-year term as chairman of the parole board. The position pays $91,428 a year and requires Senate approval. Michaud will replace Al Stanley, who was not re-appointed by Gov. Ritter.


The seven-member Board of Parole holds hearings and considers applications for parole and conducts all proceedings involving revocation of parole. The state prison inmate population is approximately 22,400, and about 7,000 people are on parole.



Gov. Bill Ritter's Office of State Planning and Budgeting released its March 2007 economic and revenue forecast today, the first forecast since the Ritter administration took office in January.


The five-year forecast period covers the current fiscal year (2006-07) through fiscal 2010-11.


"Colorado's economy continues to strengthen in concert with broader national economic conditions," said Todd Saliman, director of Gov. Ritter's Office of State Planning and Budgeting. "Although some sectors are faring better than others, aggregate indicators like the unemployment rate, retail trade and wage growth have continued at positive, sustainable levels."


Highlights from the Revenue Forecast:


·         The forecast shows a significant increase in individual income tax growth for 2006-07 from the December forecast (2.7 percent in December; 6.6 percent in March).


·         The forecast shows a $19 million decrease in the December sales-tax revenue forecast of $2 billion to reflect the impact of the holiday snow storms.


·         Total general fund revenues for 2006-07 are forecast to be $7.4 billion, up $165 million from the December forecast.


·         The forecast shows transportation funding through SB 97-1 and HB 1310 transfers totaling $1.3 billion for fiscal 2006-07, up from the December forecast of $437.6 million.


·         The forecast shows revenue for capital construction for fiscal 2006-07 at $275 million, a $74.6 million increase from the December forecast.
·         Under the provisions of Referendum C, the state is projected to retain $5.35 billion from fiscal 2005-06 through 2009-10. TABOR refunds will resume in 2010-11, with a projected refund of $30.8 million.
Highlights from the Economic Forecast:
·         Colorado's unemployment rate for 2006 was 4.3 percent, well below the 5 percent rate in 2005 and reflective of 52,800 new jobs added to the economy. The rate for 2007 is forecast to be 4.4 percent.
·         The 2006 consumer price index for the Denver-Boulder-Greeley area increased 3.6 percent after posting a 2.1 percent increase in 2005. The inflation forecast for 2007 is a 3.2 percent increase and for 2008 a 2.7 percent increase.
·         Colorado wage and salary income rose 7 percent through the third quarter of 2006 and is forecast to increase 6.3 percent in 2007 and 6 percent in 2008.


Monday, March 19, 2007


Gov. Bill Ritter will be touring the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) on Tuesday and meeting with faculty, staff and students. CSM will showcase some of its exciting work in the governor's New Energy Economy. Gov. Ritter will see demonstrations of the use of solar energy and will visit a physics lab in the school's Earth-Energy Institute.
WHAT:        Governor's Tour & Campus Forum
WHEN:       10 a.m. Tuesday, March 20, 2007
WHERE:      Colorado School of Mines, General Research Laboratory
Building, 1310 Maple St., Golden


Business and government leaders will announce a new venture known as the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels (C2B2) at a 9 a.m. news conference today on the West Steps of the state Capitol.
The joint venture will develop new biofuels and biorefining techniques and assist in a streamlined transfer of these advances to the public. Partners in the venture include the new Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Dow Chemical, Shell and small businesses such as Blue Sun Biodiesel, Green Fuel Technologies, Range Fuels, Solix Biofuels, PureVision Technology, Copernican Energy and Rocky Mountain Sustainable Enterprises.  
Collaboratory partners include the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, the Colorado School of Mines and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Leaders speaking at the event will include:

Stan Bull, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter
Jeanette Alberg on behalf of U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard
Al Weimer, CU-Boulder
R.E. "Rick" Zalesky, Chevron Technology Ventures
Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips
Charles ("Charlie") Kresge, Dow Chemical Co.
Paul Hamilton, Shell Global Solutions
Ken Reardon, CSU
John Dorgan, Colorado School of Mines
Al Darzins, NREL
Will Medlin, CU-Boulder