Sen. Mary Hodge, D-Brighton, has rankled her own party again, this time with an amendment that would prohibit tolling of existing highway lanes. It again passed on an 18-17 vote.
The bill had provisions that would allow for tolling existing lanes under a process that involves local and state governments and, if the road in question is an interstate, a federal waiver...
Democratic Sens. Morgan Carroll of Aurora, Lois Tochtrop of Thornton and Jim Isgar of Hesperus joined Hodge and Republicans in backing the amendment.
In layman's terms, we're seeing a coalition of Senate Dems (in conjunction with Senate R's) attacking the funding mechanism for the governors transportation bill. The politics of this are pretty striking. It's Brandon Shaffer's job as the Senate Majority leader to hold his caucus together - he's clearly failed. Senator Tochtrop is actually the Assistant Majority Leader in the Senate, so apparently Dem leadership in the Senate can't even agree among themselves.
It's also a pretty stunning rebuke of the Democratic governor by his own party. This legislation was a critical part of the governor's agenda, to not be able to get this passed and to see it go down in such a public manner does not speak well of the governor's influence. This sort of fight should have been settled behind closed doors before it ever came to the floor.
What the hell is going on down there?