State Legislative Forum

The Northwest Chamber Alliance and Commuting Solutions will engage Governor John Hickenlooper, CDOT Executive Director, Shailen Bhatt and our State Legislative delegation on the issues of regional transportation planning and funding solutions for the Northwest Denver metro area that includes Boulder, Broomfield, Longmont and other areas of Boulder County.

2017 State Legislative Forum

State Transportation Funding Bill Introduced

I-70 west of Denver

The highly-anticipated bill to fund much-needed transportation improvements in Colorado was introduced by the House on February 9th. If approved by the General Assembly, HB 17-1242 will ask voters this November to increase sales taxes by .62% for 20 years, moving the state sales tax from 2.9% to just over 3.5%, and generating an estimated $702 million annually. This increase would be offset by the elimination of the state share of the Road Safety Surcharge within FASTER, which would save consumers roughly $75 million annually. The bill would result in a net increase of $677 million per year of revenue available for state and local multi-modal transportation needs.

The funding would be allocated as follows:

  • CDOT would receive $300 million per year to be spent on statewide strategic projects, including multi-modal capital projects. This would be a fixed amount that is approximately 45% of first-year net revenue increase. CDOT can direct up to $50 million per year toward a $3.5 billion bonding package, with a maximum repayment of $5 billion over 20 years, to address the state’s Tier 1 identified needs. Unexpended and unencumbered dollars can be put toward maintenance and agency priorities.

The remaining new revenue would be divided:

  • 70% to city and county governments to be disbursed pursuant to the existing Highway Users Tax Fund (HUTF) distribution formula. This would be a variable amount subject to increase but expected to amount to $228.9 million in 2018 or 40% of the first year’s new revenue. City and county governments would be provided maximum flexibility to spend their resources on local priorities (i.e., multimodal capital or operational expenses) and could also use dollars as matching dollars to unlock funding from the multi-modal transportation options fund.
  • 30% to a new multi-modal transportation options fund. This, too, would be a variable amount subject to increase but expected to amount to $98.1 million in 2018 which is approximately 15% of first-year new revenue. Of this, $74 million would be available for transit and $24.5 million for non-motorized use including paths, bike/pedestrian facilities, sidewalks, and roadways for non-motorized vehicles. The fund would be directed by a new politically appointed commission that would be housed in CDOT and made up of local government officials, transit experts, metro planning organizations, and advocates.

Commuting Solutions has taken a position of support for the bill and will actively engage as it proceeds through the legislature. 

Prioritizing 2017 as the Year for Transportation

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Governor Hickenlooper delivers keynote address at 8th Legislative Breakfast

As Governor Hickenlooper stated at the 8th Legislative Breakfast, transportation is an economic driver. It determines the movement of our state’s goods and the movement of people to tourist destinations and employment centers.

Funding for this vital aspect of our state’s economy is at an all-time low and is a key focus for elected officials entering the 2017 legislative session. And it is not just elected officials who are focused on transportation funding, the private sector is raising their collective voice in support of developing new mechanisms for transportation funding. Accessibility (meaning an effective multi-modal system and roads that are well maintained) ensures that new businesses invest in Colorado and that our workforce remains strong.

Colorado is a growing state, but maintains a healthy competition against our neighbor to the west—Utah. Compared to Colorado, Utah has half of the population, more than 700 miles of lanes and similar outdoor offerings. Without an effective transportation system that is well maintained, Colorado could face losing revenue as young entrepreneurs look to Utah (currently Colorado has a $9 billion transportation funding deficit). Both elected officials and private-sector leaders understand that to keep Colorado competitive transportation needs to come first—the question is, where does the money come from?

Building a sustainable, reliable multi-modal system is a priority for our state’s elected officials and so is developing a stable funding mechanism. At the 8th Legislative Breakfast, Senator John Cooke presented two possibilities for increasing transportation funding: an increased gas tax or a sales tax. To ensure that sales tax is applied to transportation, safeguards would need to be in place and the public would need to be involved in the conversation. As Representative Diane Mitsch Bush noted, the public needs to understand issues as well as the legislators working on them. For transportation funding to go into effect, the public needs to understand the significance of transportation and the investment that their tax dollars make.

Learn more about the policies Commuting Solutions and the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition support, and stay in touch with Commuting Solutions as we prioritize 2017 as the year for transportation!

Commuting Solutions is a shining example of multi-modal success, showing clearly how we can reduce congestion , improve economic opportunity for all, protect and improve our environment, and help make our communities more resilient.  – Representative Diane Mitsch Bush

8th Legislative Breakfast will focus on transportation issues

Dec. 19, 2016
Staff report, Northglenn Thornton Sentinel

Commuting Solutions and the Northwest Chamber Alliance (a coalition of the Broomfield, Boulder and Longmont chambers) will host the 8th Legislative Breakfast on Jan. 5 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Omni Interlocken Hotel. The purpose of this year’s event is to convene public and private stakeholders around the Northwest region’s transportation priorities during the 2017 legislative session.

The 8th Legislative Breakfast will provide a collaborative environment for businesses, governments and transportation agencies to discuss the future of the Northwest region, especially as it relates to potential state legislation to prioritize transportation.

“Transportation is becoming a paramount issue for businesses, especially when it comes to recruiting and retaining employees,” said John Tayer, President and CEO of the Boulder chamber. “Businesses that are highly accessible become desirable employment hubs and ultimately increase a region’s population, economy and quality of life.”

Economic development also is a focal point of this year’s breakfast.

Read Full Article

Louisville’s Commuting Solutions appoints 2017-18 board members

Dec. 29, 2016
By Anthony Hahn, The Daily Camera

At Louisville-based Commuting Solutions’ annual meeting on Dec. 13, members of the transportation-focused group approved the recommended board members for 2017-2018 service term.

Joining the Board of Directors are Gina McAfee, of HDR Engineering; Rob Zuccaro, of Louisville; Shawn Lewis, of Longmont; Heather Cracraft, of the Superior Chamber of Commerce; and Tushar Udeshi, of Google, according to a news release on Monday. The new board members’ terms will begin Sunday and end Dec. 31, 2018.

“We are fortunate to have such a diverse and knowledgeable Board of Directors guide our organization as we continue to address regional transportation issues,” Audrey DeBarros, executive director of Commuting Solutions, said in a statement.

During 2017, the Board of Directors will be led by the following board officers: Chairperson David Driscoll, of Driscoll Rose LLC; Vice Chairperson Kathleen Bracke, of the city of Boulder; Past Chairperson Debra Baskett, of the city of Westminster; Treasurer Ken Hotard, of Boulder Area Realtor Association; and Secretary Chris McShane, of Colorado Business Bank.

Northwest Chambers Plan Legislative Forum on Transportation

by Christopher Wood, BizWest
December 20, 2016

BROOMFIELD – Commuting Solutions and the Northwest Chamber Alliance, a coalition of the Broomfield, Boulder and Longmont chambers, will host the 8th Legislative Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 5, at the Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield.

The event will convene public and private stakeholders around the Northwest region’s transportation priorities during the 2017 legislative session.

“The 8th Legislative Breakfast will provide a collaborative environment for businesses, governments and transportation agencies to discuss the future of the Northwest region, especially as it relates to potential state legislation to prioritize transportation,” John Tayer, president and chief executive of the Boulder Chamber, said in a press release. “Businesses have a growing voice in transportation planning, as effective transportation leads to increased economic growth.”

The forum will include legislators such as House Majority Leader KC Becker; Sen. John Cooke, Senate Transportation Committee vice chair; and Rep. Diane Mitsch-Bush, House Transportation & Energy Committee chair. They will discuss the priorities most important to their regions.

Additionally, the U.S. 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition and Commuting Solutions will present their 2017 legislative policy agenda.

Gov. John Hickenlooper will deliver a breakfast keynote address, with regional business leaders and elected officials also making presentations.

The cost to attend is $75 for members of Commuting Solutions, the Broomfield Chamber, the Boulder Chamber and the Longmont Chamber and $90 for non-members. Registration can be completed through Jan. 4 here.

8th Legislative Breakfast Defines Transportation Priorities for the 2017 Session

December 16, 2016              FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Audrey DeBarros, Executive Director Commuting Solutions
Cell: 303-330-4939
audrey@commutingsolutions.org

8th Legislative Breakfast Defines Transportation Priorities for the 2017 Session
Commuting Solutions and the Northwest Chamber Alliance to host 8th Legislative Breakfast on January 5

LOUISVILLE, Colo.—Commuting Solutions and the Northwest Chamber Alliance (a coalition of the Broomfield, Boulder and Longmont Chambers) will host the 8th Legislative Breakfast on Thursday, January 5 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. at the Omni Interlocken Hotel. The purpose of this year’s event is to convene public and private stakeholders around the Northwest region’s transportation priorities during the 2017 legislative session.

The 8th Legislative Breakfast will provide a collaborative environment for businesses, governments and transportation agencies to discuss the future of the Northwest region, especially as it relates to potential state legislation to prioritize transportation. Businesses have a growing voice in transportation planning, as effective transportation leads to increased economic growth. John Tayer, President and CEO of the Boulder Chamber, explains, “Transportation is becoming a paramount issue for businesses, especially when it comes to recruiting and retaining employees. Businesses that are highly accessible become desirable employment hubs and ultimately increase a region’s population, economy and quality of life.”

Economic development is a focal point of this year’s breakfast, but the breakfast also provides a platform for the public and private sectors to convene on the region’s transportation priorities and focus on moving forward. Commuting Solutions Executive Director Audrey DeBarros says, “Over 16% of the Denver metro region’s population and employment is concentrated in Boulder County, Broomfield County and City of Westminster, which means the outcomes of transportation over the coming years will determine how our region’s economy, public health and population progress over the coming decades.”

Legislators such as House Majority Leader, KC Becker, Senator John Cooke (Senate Transportation Committee Vice Chair) and Representative Diane Mitsch-Bush (House Transportation & Energy Committee Chair) will discuss the priorities most important to their parties and regions, and the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition and Commuting Solutions will present their 2017 Legislative Policy Agenda. The breakfast will also feature a keynote address from Governor Hickenlooper and presentations by regional businesses leaders and elected officials.

The cost to attend is $75 for members of Commuting Solutions, the Broomfield Chamber, the Boulder Chamber and the Longmont Chamber and $90 for non-members. Registration can be completed through January 4 by visiting http://bit.ly/2eTlEBp.

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About Commuting Solutions:
Commuting Solutions is dedicated to delivering innovative transportation options that connect commuters to their workplaces, businesses to their employees, and residents to their communities. Through advocacy for infrastructure and transportation improvements, partnerships and education, we create progressive, flexible transportation solutions. Be part of the progress along US 36, visit commutingsolutions.org.

About the Northwest Chamber Alliance:
The Northwest Chamber Alliance was formed in 2016 as a coalition focused on regional issues that impact economic vitality and quality of life. It is currently comprised of the Boulder, Broomfield and Longmont Chambers, representing approximately 2,400 businesses made up of 100,000 employees. These businesses range from large international corporations to small businesses, startups, nonprofits and public institutions.

 

Commuting Solutions and the Northwest Chamber Alliance to Host 8th Legislative Breakfast

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 28, 2016

Contact: Audrey DeBarros, Executive Director Commuting Solutions
Tel: 303-330-4939
audrey@commutingsolutions.org

Commuting Solutions and the Northwest Chamber
Alliance to Host 8th Legislative Breakfast

LOUISVILLE, Colo— Business leaders and elected officials from the Northwest region will gather on Thursday, January 5 for the 8th Legislative Breakfast. The breakfast will be hosted by Commuting Solutions, in partnership with the Northwest Chamber Alliance, and will feature a keynote address from Governor Hickenlooper.

This year’s breakfast will focus on the future of transportation in the Northwest region and the transportation priorities for the 2017 legislative session, as will impacts of effective transportation on the region’s economic growth. Louisville Mayor Bob Muckle and Lori Frasier, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Performance Management at Key Equipment Finance, will join the breakfast as guest speakers, and Amelia Earhart of 9NEWS will be this year’s guest emcee.

The breakfast will be held at the Omni Interlocken Hotel on Thursday, January 5 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. The cost to attend is $75 for members of Commuting Solutions, the Broomfield Chamber of Commerce, the Boulder Chamber of Commerce and the Longmont Chamber of Commerce and $90 for non-members. Registration can be completed through January 4 by visiting http://bit.ly/2eTlEBp.

# # #

About Commuting Solutions:
Commuting Solutions is dedicated to delivering innovative transportation options that connect commuters to their workplaces, businesses to their employees, and residents to their communities. Through advocacy for infrastructure and transportation improvements, partnerships and education, we create progressive, flexible transportation solutions. Be part of the progress along US 36, visit commutingsolutions.org.

About the Northwest Chamber Alliance:
The Northwest Chamber Alliance was formed in 2016 as a coalition focused on regional issues that impact economic vitality and quality of life. It is currently comprised of the Boulder, Broomfield and Longmont Chambers, representing approximately 2,400 businesses made up of 100,000 employees. These businesses range from large international corporations to small businesses, startups, nonprofits and public institutions.

Bridging Colorado’s Transportation Funding Gap

Did you know that Colorado’s state gas tax has not been raised in 25 years and that a crucial $100 million could be cut from the state’s 2017 transportation budget? While it may seem as though our state is flourishing, and it is in many areas, there are serious decreases in our state’s main transportation funding source (the gas tax) and our ability to comprehensively fund transportation.  With insolvency of the federally operated Highway Trust Fund projected for 2021, Colorado is not the only state looking to new funding sources as a way to maintain and expand transportation growth. (According to Colorado 2040 Statewide Transportation Plan,  the insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund will result in a $1B annual funding gap for the state over the next 25 years.)

Colorado’s population and vehicle miles traveled will nearly double by 2040, which means the strain on our transportation system and the need for expansion will also increase. Much of the state’s transportation funding comes from a gas tax, but more fuel-efficient vehicles, a reduction in driving and a 25-year-old gas tax are contributing to significant funding shortfalls. Looking ahead, it is imperative that state officials implement a long-term funding solution to secure our transportation future.

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In Utah, we see that a minute sales tax and recently adjusted gas tax make a significant contribution to a state’s annual transportation budget. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Utah has a comparable DOT budget ($1.3B to Colorado’s $1.4B), but has 2 million fewer residents and around 8,000 fewer miles of road to maintain. While Utah has achieved their own success, Colorado must look at creative funding mechanisms and the possibility of an increased gas tax to bridge our funding gap.

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In lieu of a permanent and sustainable funding source, Colorado has embraced public-private partnerships (P3s) to ensure that infrastructure is built, while recognizing that additional funding will be needed for future maintenance, transit, bicycling and congestion management. CDOT’s move to High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) 3 on Express Lanes is another way our transportation department is looking to generate revenue while maintaining clear roads for transit, carpools and individuals who choose to pay a toll. CDOT is also launching the Road Usage Charge Pilot Program, a pilot program that will assess charges based on vehicle miles traveled and could one day replace the gas tax. Along with an increased gas tax, new sources of revenue are needed to meet anticipated demands and address the state’s face-paced growth.

As part of Commuting Solutions’ ongoing commitment to enhance the economic vitality of the Northwest region, we will represent the private sector in our 2017 legislative agenda and provide opportunities for the public and private sectors to engage with one another. Our 8th Legislative Breakfast will be held on Thursday, January 5 and will provide employers, governments and residents with an opportunity to engage with one another and set the tone for making regional progress in 2017.