Commuting Solutions Continues the Fight for Transportation Funding

Colorado State Capitol

When the legislative session began, Commuting Solutions gathered with local stakeholders to prioritize finding a stable, sustainable and new funding stream for transportation throughout the northwest metro region and beyond. To be one of the most innovative corridors in the state and continue the vital work of connecting our communities, all eyes were on the legislator and elected officials to find common ground.

Finding a sustainable transportation funding source is not only critical to our work, but to communities throughout the state. To keep up with our growing population and deteriorating infrastructure, local governments need citizens help to support infrastructure financially. Commuting Solutions supported House Bill 17-1242, which received bi-partisan support and proposed allowing voters to approve a sales tax increase that would provide billions in transportation funding. Unfortunately, House Bill 17-1242 died in the Senate Finance Committee. Despite HB17-1242 dying in the senate, the legislative session ended with a couple positive outcomes.

The broad, public and private sector statewide support behind HB17-1242 from local elected officials, businesses and a diverse range of advocacy and environmental groups highlighted the importance of continuing the conversation of multi-modal transportation funding. At Commuting Solutions, we are excited to see the conversation continuing beyond the legislative sessions and the growing bi-partisan, public and private sector support underway to fund multi-modal transportation.

The legislator did pass Senate Bill 267 during the legislative session. This bill will provide about one billion dollars* for transportation. 25 percent of the funding is to be used for projects in rural communities and just 10 percent for transit. Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has confirmed that many of the projects selected will from the tier one development plan and project list. Currently, CDOT is working with planning partners and local governments to see how much projects from this list will costs and which projects they will be moving forward with.

So, what can you do to see transportation investments being made in your community in the future? Andy Karsian, state legislative liaison for Colorado Department of Transportation recommends staying engaged in the conversation and taking advantage of resources available to deepen your knowledge of transportation issues in your community and beyond.  A diverse group representing the private sector and advocacy groups is deliberating continuing the progress for a potential ballot issue so please stay engaged as that conversation evolves.

Commuting Solutions is committed to continuing the dialogue and advocating for the multi-modal transportation needs of the northwest metro region. Stay engaged with our efforts by keeping an eye on our social media and website.

*CDOT estimates that roughly five to six billion dollars is needed to complete projects on their top priority list.

Commuting Solutions would to thank Andy Karsian, state legislative liaison for Colorado Department of Transportation for sharing information about the Legislative Session and the next steps for CDOT.

Membership Meeting on June 13

Learn. Network. Inspire.

Save the date for our upcoming Membership Meeting on Tuesday, June 13! Our guest speakers will be sharing an inside look at the 2017 legislative session, what it means for transportation in the northwest region and the latest innovations in transportation technology. Bring a colleague or connect with fellow private and public sector stakeholders, just don’t forget to mark your calendar for our Membership Meeting on Tuesday, June 13 from 7:15 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. at the 1st BANK Center.

E-Bikes to Extend Access to US 36 Bikeway and Beyond

 

Electronic bikes (e-bikes) are positively impacting the ability for commuters to cycle to work every day. At the beginning of 2016, Commuting Solutions convened government staff from Boulder, Boulder County, Louisville, Superior, Broomfield and Westminster to encourage local communities to adopt electronic bike ordinances that would enable e-bikes to be used along the US 36 Bikeway and other local cycling facilities. Commuting Solutions supports e-bikes due to the ability to ride further, tackle tougher terrain and increase accessibility to the US 36 Bikeway for all ages and abilities.

The US 36 Bikeway is 18 miles long and connects communities throughout the northwest metro region. Not only does it connect businesses to their employees, but makes cycling to work a safe commute option. E-bikes allow cyclists to travel farther than they normally would and eventually play a leading role in encouraging more commuters to try commuting by e-bike along the US 36 Bikeway, creating another viable commute option.

E-bikes not only help commuters travel further, it also increases a rider’s ability to travel across challenging terrain that would otherwise be too difficult. To put this into perspective, the US 36 Bikeway has a 700-foot elevation gain when riding Davidson Mesa going in and out of Boulder. This can be a challenging climb for an experienced rider and daunting task for a novice cyclist. E-bikes allows cyclists to decide when they want to pedal and when they need an extra power boost.

Expanding city ordinances along the US 36 Bikeway to allow e-bikes would mean increasing access to cycling for all ages and abilities. The northwest metro region is nationally recognized for the progress along the US 36 Corridor and this includes the US 36 Bikeway. The US 36 Bikeway is an incredible treasure for our communities. Commuting Solutions is committed to increasing access to the bikeway so more people can not only enjoy their ride, but connect to our communities along the way.

We are pleased that Louisville city council recently approved an e-bike ordinance and the jurisdictions of Broomfield, Westminster and Boulder County are in the process of doing the same.  In addition, a state bill passed the legislature this session which enables e-bike usage unless a community opposes it.  This is exciting progress for the state and for the cycling industry to make Colorado more accessible for all users.

For more information about the US 36 Bikeway and to view our online map, visit commutingsolutions.org.  The 2017 Bike Northwest print map will be available in June; email us at info@commutingsolutions.org to have a map mailed to you.  Ride on!

RTD Citizens Advisory Committee Calls for Applications

Group advises agency on FasTracks Plan and RTD strategies and initiatives

DENVER (April 26, 2017) – Residents of the eight-county Regional Transportation District (RTD) who are interested in public transit issues and community engagement are encouraged to apply for one of three vacancies on the RTD Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC).

The 17-member citizens group has advised the agency on its voter-approved FasTracks program for the past 10 years. Last year, the committee’s role was expanded to also advise RTD on its strategies and initiatives.

CAC members represent a wide variety of backgrounds, interests and professional experiences. The group’s public outreach meetings keep metro-area citizens informed of FasTracks progress and RTD programs and encourage input from local communities.

Individuals interested in applying for a position on the CAC should submit letters of interest to rsherman@crlassociates.com. Letters should address the following:

  • Explain why you want to serve on the committee and what unique experience and skill-set you will bring.
  • Describe affiliations and volunteer activities you believe will add value to the committee.
  • Statement of personal objectives/goals if accepted for CAC membership.

Please limit response to two (2) typed pages and feel free to attach a resume. Letters must be received by the close of business on May 12, 2017.

Appointments to the panel shall be made to ensure a broad representation of stakeholder interests, to achieve diversity and to provide geographical representation within the district.

Selection criteria will include, but not be limited to, residency within the RTD district; a demonstrated interest in public transit and the FasTracks program; previous community service; experience working with local jurisdictions on regional issues; and professional expertise.

The CAC’s role is to:

  • Continue to monitor and provide input on the improvements for each corridor in the FasTracks Plan.
  • Become familiar with the District’s strategic plan and long-term vision.
  • Provide region-oriented advice to RTD regarding the implementation of the strategic plan, its strategies and initiatives.
  • Represent the citizen perspective on behalf of a wide range of stakeholder interests and  community organizations.
  • Gather information from community members to share with the agency.
  • Share information with community members to promote public awareness of the agency’s  programs and projects.
  • Other tasks as assigned by the RTD Board of Directors.

For more information, contact Roger Sherman at 303-592-5465.

About the RTD Citizens Advisory Committee
The RTD Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) monitors and provides region-oriented advice on the FasTracks Plan and RTD’s strategic plan. It represents citizen and community perspectives on transit issues, and promotes public awareness of RTD’s programs, services and projects. The 17-member volunteer committee represents a cross-section of the region’s population and holds monthly work sessions.

HB17-1242 is Critical to the Future of Transportation Funding in Colorado

I-70 west of Denver

A catalyst for economic growth and lifeline for communities in the northwest metro region, transportation serves a critical role in connecting people to places and fostering a vibrant economy. House Bill 17-1242 (HB17-1242) is the first bill in decades to receive bipartisan support to provide sustainable funding for multi-modal transportation infrastructure, services and programs for 20 years. If approved by the General Assembly, HB17-1242 would ask voters this November to increase sales tax by .05 percent to generate millions of dollars to address the statewide and local transportation needs locally for our communities and counties and throughout Colorado.

We’ve taken a stance of support for HB17-1242 because it is our best option to fund elements of our states transportation system. This includes highways, roads, public transit, bicycle infrastructure and pedestrian improvements. Currently, 84 percent of Colorado’s major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition and cost Coloradans thousands of dollars in additional car maintenance and repairs. This physical cost doesn’t include the additional 49 hours metro Denver drivers spend in traffic congestion. Without sufficient funding, our system will become less safe and a lack of travel options make it difficult for people to get to work, harms the quality of life for employers and makes it harder for companies to attract top talent. Colorado needs to invest in transportation to compete against other neighboring states who have already chosen to do so.

HB17-1242 is a critical step in not only keeping Colorado roads safe, but also ensuring that communities throughout the northwest metro region continue to have vibrant economies and is a leader in commute options for generations to come. Currently, HB17-1242 passed the House of Representatives and the Senate Transportation committee. Our advocacy efforts aren’t over yet! Join us in advocating for the future of multi-modal transportation by calling your senator and expressing your support for HB17-1242.

For additional information about the funding structure for HB17-1242, click here.

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.