DENVER - The Colorado House approved legislation supported by the Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association (CWPMA) that bill codifies in Colorado statutes the current federal prohibitions against commercialization on the interstate highways.
However, the bill goes one step further in prohibiting retail sales of motor fuels from any taxpayer subsidized property or to contracting with a private entity on taxpayer subsidized property for the purpose of selling motor fuels at retail. The bill addresses recent so-called public/private partnerships where alternative fuels, particularly compressed natural gas (CNG), infrastructure is constructed on public property with a pipe extending onto adjacent public property for the purpose of contracting with a private entity to sell at retail.
CWPMA feels such agreements are allowing governmental entities to use marketers own taxpayer dollars to compete against them. "No legitimate private entity will ever be able to compete against taxpayer subsidized public/private partnerships," said CWPMA Manager of Government Affairs Grier Bailey.
CWPMA argued that such arrangements actually impede the build out of CNG and electric vehicle fueling stations because of the complicit benefit such operations glean from tax-free personal property being utilized. The tremendously competitive traditional fuels market developed in a level playing field environment.
Public/private partnerships create a competitive advantage that will never be overcome by a non tax-preferred private competitor. "Such partnerships stymie infrastructure build out, not enhance it," said Bailey.
The association also argued that public/private partnerships actually harm local government tax bases and school district tax bases. "The significant taxes that private entities pay for property, buildings and fueling infrastructure will be avoided, because the government partner will own the compressor station and the property on which the retail pump is situated," said Bailey.
CWPMA coined the phrase "Government Competition is an Oxymoron" while promoting the bill. The bill now moves on to the Colorado Senate and faces significant challenges from cities, counties and environmental groups.