As lawmakers return to Colorado’s capitol building today for the 2009 legislative session, the mood will be somber amid concerns over a $600 million shortfall, notes The Denver Post, which writes that there are, nonetheless, hopes that some major proposals can be funded, including efforts to improve the state’s roads and bridges.

In a  report released yesterday, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Colorado roads a “D-plus,” its lowest mark. Overall, Colorado got a “C-plus” for infrastructure, with the 84-page report warning that it is aging and deteriorating (via Fox 31).

On Monday, Democratic Governor Bill Ritter laid out a detailed plan to better the situation, promising legislation, according to the Post. Meanwhile, state Republicans are floating the idea of using government assets, such as state-owned buildings, for collateral in order to borrow as much as $500 million to repair roads and bridges, a plan that could create jobs, according to the Denver Business Journal.

In a side note, as the session begins, Colorado isn’t so “redneck” anymore, writes The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan, linking to The Washington Times, which highlights new black leadership in the state Legislature.