May 19, 2016
As we take a look back on the 2016 legislative session, it is evident that transportation issues are being addressed, yet the transportation funding gap is not. During this legislative session, Commuting Solutions took a stance on three notable transportation-specific bills.
HB16-1008, allowing CDOT to designate an area on a roadway not otherwise assigned for traffic for use by commercial vehicles designed to transport 16 passengers or more, plays a significant part in the overall operations of US 36 bus rapid transit. This small, yet effective step allows RTD buses to use the shoulders on US 36 during times of congestion and provides additional reasons to choose transit over driving.
SB16-123 was a bill that left groups and parties divided. This bill would prohibit use of Switchable High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) passes in the Express Lanes, which would ultimately impact contract commitments and mobility. Commuting Solutions, along with other transportation groups, agencies and governments, strongly opposed this bill’s long-term impacts. While this bill died in a House committee, CDOT is addressing legislators’ concern over the $15 transponder fee and is working on a timeline to implement changes in preparation for HOV +3, beginning January 2017.
HB16-1450 i.e. the Hospital Provider Fee, was not approved in the Senate. This bill would have provided funding for transportation and education, and was in compliance with the Tax Payers Bill of Rights (TABOR).
Each session brings forth opportunities to improve the lives of Coloradoans, and this session was one that brought forth improvements for both the state and the Northwest region. We are already looking forward to November and a potential ballot issue that could provide transportation funding and narrow the existing funding gap.