A Time for Thanks

A Time For Thanks

As we near the Thanksgiving holiday, it is traditional to look back at the year and think about what we’re thankful for. At Commuting Solutions, we have had a year full of partnerships, programs and people that we are so thankful to work with. 2018 involved much collaboration around our advocacy work.

Collaboration in Advocacy

We kicked off the year with a massive partnership to host our Transportation Matters Business Initiative with local chambers of commerce and economic development partners in the communities in the northwest metro region. It was an amazing opportunity to build relationships with business leaders and residents and to hear their input to the Northwest Area Mobility Study (NAMS).

Building on this momentum, Commuting Solutions continued to work with and collaborate with the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition (US 36 MCC) to advocate for the northwest metro region. When the Let’s Go, Colorado campaign and CDOT announced they were making a list of projects throughout Colorado that would receive funding if Proposition 110 passed in November, they fought for the northwest metro region. The Coalition worked tirelessly to ensure that our projects would be on the list because the northwest metro region hasn’t gotten our fair share of transportation investments.

As we move past the 2018 midterm elections and continue to look for ways to fund vital transportation infrastructure investments in our region, we continue to be grateful to have such a strong and dedicated partner in the US 36 MCC. While it will be a rough road ahead, we have no doubt that together we can accomplish our goals and bring innovative and sustainable transportation options to the northwest metro region.

Our Guiding Force

We are also grateful to our Board of Directors who bring together public and private sector individuals who are passionate about our mission. It is with their wisdom, dedication and guidance that Commuting Solutions’ continues to be an invaluable resource for the northwest metro region. We were reminded of their commitment at our annual strategic planning retreat in October. Together, they planned for the next three years and set the stage for our capacity building priorities.

Last, but certainly not least, we are grateful and thankful every day for you, our members, the commuters and residents of the northwest metro region. Without you, we would have no inspiration or motivation for the work we do to improve traffic congestion, air quality and the lives of everyone who lives here. So thank you for you continued support and we promise to continue advocating for our region and to bring innovative transportation solutions to all who live here.

 

Why We’re Voting For Proposition 110 (And You Should Too!)

 

Why #voteYESon110 This November

It’s midterm election season and we are all being bombarded with campaign messages telling us to vote yes or no on different propositions or who to support for governor. It can be overwhelming and sometimes those messages don’t always tell us what we need to know to make the most informed decision possible when we vote.

This year, you’ll be faced with two diametrically opposed propositions for how transportation in Colorado should be funded in the coming years: Proposition 109, or Fix Our Damn Roads, and Proposition 110, better known as Let’s Go, Colorado.

The Propositions Summed Up

Proposition 109 asks voters to approve bonding $3.5 billion to fund specified road and bridge expansion, construction and maintenance and repair projects throughout the state. This money would be repaid by taking money out of the state budget.

In contrast, Proposition 110 asks voters to approve a 0.62% sales tax increase that would sunset in 20 years to start working on the $9 billion backlog of transportation projects throughout the state of Colorado. The revenue from the sales tax would be divided between state and local governments. 45% would go to the Colorado Department of Transportation and the State Highway Fund, 20% would be allocated to county governments, 20% to local governments, and 15% would go towards a state multimodal fund.

Why 110?

When looking at each proposition, it does initially appear as if both could remedy the transportation problems we have in the state of Colorado. However, Proposition 110 provides a much more holistic approach to addressing the funding issues we’re currently facing.

Proposition 110 not only seeks to fix the current problems we’re facing with our transportation infrastructure but seeks to provide our state with funding to address our growing population and our needs for the next 20 years. Proposition 109 only provides enough funding to repair our small percentage of our current roads and build new lanes. That is not going to be enough to keep up with our growing population and increased road use.

The allocation of funding that Proposition 110 suggests is an intentional way of addressing that different cities and counties throughout the state have vastly different transportation needs and priorities. In the northwest metro region, we are looking to improve our transit and other multimodal options and increase the capacity of our roads to address our drastically growing population. In other regions of the state, they need to make essential repairs to their existing roadways.

Sean Duffy, a spokesperson for the Let’s Go, Colorado campaign, emphasized this point, telling the Westword publication that, “That’s why we’re trying to reach folks all over the state, whose needs have been neglected for too long and have to be addressed. This has social and economic and quality-of-life impact, and we’ve got to get serious about it.”

CDOT has a statewide approved project lists that would receive funding if the ballot measure is passed. For the northwest metro region, the list includes State Highway 119, State Highway 7, State Highway 287 and the US 36 & Sheridan Underpass. These are just the projects on the statewide project list; local and county governments will have funds to allocate to their own projects. The US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition proposed projects to the statewide list that had been approved in 2014 through the Northwest Area Mobility Study (NAMS).

Proposition 110 also takes into consideration that Colorado residents aren’t the only drivers using our roadways. A sales tax would draw in revenue for transportation funding from the over 30 million visitors who come to our state every year.

For residents of the northwest metro region, being asked to approve another transportation tax following the disappointment over the lack of progress of Northwest Rail after passing the 2004 FasTracks initiative, can be a difficult pill to swallow. However, there is an important distinction between Proposition 110 and FasTracks. The revenue from the FasTracks tax was overseen by the Regional Transportation District (RTD), whereas the revenue from Proposition 110 will be overseen and distributed by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

What Next?

Until Election Day on November 6, Commuting Solutions will be busy advocating for Proposition 110 and all the benefits it will bring to our region. You can get involved in a few ways:

  • Engage with us on social media. We’re on Facebook as Commuting Solutions and on Twitter as commutingsltns. Like, share and comment on our posts related to the campaign.
  • Grab a yard sign and put it out for all your neighbors to see. Commuting Solutions has a supply of Let’s Go, Colorado yard signs and we’d love to give you one. Email us at info@commutingsolutions.org to request one.
  • Ask Commuting Solutions to speak at your next event. We would love to come speak to your business or organization about Proposition 110 in depth. Email us at info@commutingsolutions.org to request a speaker!

 

Commuting Solutions’ Summer Community Outreach Recap

Summer in Colorado means weekend farmers markets, spending time in nature and enjoying the amazing summer weather. Here at Commuting Solutions, we’ve been spending our summer vacation with the people that matter most. From making new friends at community events to exploring our region on all modes, summer 2018 is one for the books!

With fall only a month away, we wanted to take a moment, not only to look back at where all we’ve been this summer, but what we have coming up this fall and the rest of the year.

Where We’ve Been in the Community

Bike to Work Day sidewalk art (upper left), Boulder Farmers’ Market (upper right), RTD Rider Appreciation at Broomfield Station (bottom left), Bike to Work Day Shimano Giveaway (bottom right)

From the Longmont Farmers’ Market to Taste It Broomfield, we’ve been soaking up the sun and sharing commute options in communities throughout the northwest metro region this summer. Beginning in July, we teamed up with the Regional Transportation District (RTD) to thank riders for taking transit during our Rider Appreciation events at Broomfield and Table Mesa stations. Commuting Solutions and RTD Representatives enjoyed connecting with riders and hearing their feedback!

We’ve also been in Lafayette, teaming up with the Lafayette Energy Sustainability Advisory Committee and Smart Commute Metro North to help teach last summer’s RTD MyRide card recipients the ins and outs of riding RTD thanks to a grant from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program and the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC).

One of our favorite memories of our summer is Bike to Work Day 2018! Over 36,000 riders in the Denver Metro Region left their cars at home and commuted by bike on June 27. Commuting Solutions hosted three breakfast stations and said good morning to nearly 1,000 riders!

Shimano Cycling Gear in the Community

One of the most exciting parts of our summer was finding new and fun ways to distribute the nearly $100,000 worth of Shimano product that was donated to us to celebrate our 20th Anniversary. Between Bike to Work Day, Bike Wednesdays and other community events, we’ve been able to distribute over $70,000 of product so far. Keep an eye on our social media for our next giveaway!

What’s Coming Up

This year shows no sign of slowing and Commuting Solutions is excited to announce that for the next three months we’ll be working with the Let’s Go, Colorado campaign to help educate Colorado voters on the Let’s Go, Colorado ballot initiative that proposes a 0.62% tax increase to help fund transportation programs across the state.

If you haven’t caught us at a community event this summer, don’t worry! There are plenty more opportunities to come and talk with us about your commute options and the latest in transportation in our region. Look for us at Superior Chili Fest, Broomfield Days, Westminster Harvest Festival and more in the coming months!

We also have more events coming up with RTD! We’ll be in Lafayette for another How-to Ride event as well as Longmont and Louisville in the coming months. Be sure to come say hi and learn about our great RTD bus service.

Commuting Solutions has also been hard at work, along with cities along the US 36 corridor, to design, fabricate and install branded wayfinding signs to help cyclists, pedestrians and transit users better navigate our region. These signs will be installed in next month.

Stay tuned for an exciting pilot program launch coming this fall exclusively to the US 36 Express Lanes!

 

Transportation Funding Gaining Momentum in Colorado

After the historic passage of Senate Bill 001 during the legislative session this spring, stakeholders from all sectors are hoping voters will keep the transportation momentum moving forward this November.

Tony Milo, Executive Director, Colorado Contractors Association and Jake Martin, Campaign Director, Let’s Go, Colorado shared Coloradoans for Colorado’s vision for sustainable transportation funding during Commuting Solutions’ quarterly Membership Meeting this week.

“Today, we are here to get Colorado moving again and propose a ballot measure that will put real, ongoing funding towards our statewide transportation system,” explained Milo.

What exactly is Let’s Go, Colorado proposing and how could it impact the northwest metro region? We have the inside scoop on their proposed ballot measure.

What is Let’s Go, Colorado?

Let’s Go, Colorado is a ballot initiative to address the funding needs for transportation across the state of Colorado. The ballot initiative is being put forth by a coalition of nearly 30 organizations statewide commonly known as Coloradoans for Colorado.

Let’s Go, Colorado is proposing a 0.62 percent sales tax that would provide money to the State Highway Fund, Local Transportation Priorities Fund (Cities & Counties) and a Multimodal Transportation Fund.

Tell me more about the potential ballot measure…

After an in-depth look at every mechanism available to fund transportation, the coalition determined that a sales tax was the most equitable, single funding source.  The sales tax option will raise enough to address our transportation needs while ensuring that everyone (including tourists) pay the same rates. In the first year, this solution is estimated to raise $767 million in revenue.

Worried about how this sales tax could impact your pocket book? The sales tax would be about six cents on a ten-dollar purchase.

How did we get here?

Colorado has a $9 billion backlog of transportation related projects that desperately need funding but there isn’t any available money in the state budget. This deficit didn’t appear overnight, so how did Colorado get here?

In 1992, Colorado passed a gas tax to help fund transportation projects in the state. 22 cents from every gallon of gas purchased goes towards transportation funding. Despite inflation, a higher cost of gas and growing transportation needs, this tax has not changed in almost 30 years.

Costs have also increased dramatically since 1992. The cost of resurfacing a road has increased by over 120%. The Colorado Department of Transportation can barely keep up with the costs of maintenance, let alone funding new projects.

What next?

The Let’s Go, Colorado ballot initiative has until August 6 to collect 98,492 signatures to get the initiative onto the November ballot.

Currently, Commuting Solutions has taken a position of conditional support of the Let’s Go, Colorado initiative, contingent upon the inclusion and level of funding of projects from our region in the ballot project list. The US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition and Commuting Solutions has written a letter to the Colorado Department of Transportation outlining the projects they would need funded in order to support the ballot initiative.

If you would like learn more the Let’s Go, Colorado (Proposition 110) ballot initiative, click here.

To learn more about the state of transportation in Colorado, go to commutingsolutions.org.

 

Count Down to the End of the 2018 Legislative Session: Will Multi-Modal Transportation Be Prioritized?

With the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) navigating a $9 billion backlog of projects across the state and the 2018 state legislative session coming to a close on May 9th, the transportation conversation is at a critical stage. Currently, we are eagerly awaiting the results of two bills that could benefit transportation funding.

HB18-1340  Capital Construction Bill

HB18-1340 accompanies the Long Bill and is focused on capital construction project funding. The bill includes one section that would approve a one-time $495 million general fund transfer if SB-001 fails to become law.  We are appreciative of the efforts of House Speaker Crisanta Duran and Rep. Faith Winter to distribute the funding between CDOT, counties and cities, and 15% designated for multi-modal needs.

Bill Status
The bill is before the Joint Budget Committee who is acting as the conference committee on SB18-1340, as the House rejected the Senate amendments.

SB18-001 Fix Colorado Roads Act

SB-001 passed unanimously out of the Senate.  The bill delayed a referred measure for voters to consider transportation bonds using existing state revenue until 2019.  The bill also calls for transferring $500 million from the general fund to the State Highway Fund, and $250 million annually for the next 19 years from the General Fund to the State Highway Fund to pay back the bond initiative.

SB-001 delays a referred transportation bonding measure for voters to consider until 2019, which allows  for a citizen-initiated ballot question in 2018. Currently there are three possible outcomes if this bill passes:

  • If a citizen initiative ballot question in 2018 is successful, then the 2019 referred measure is repealed.
  • If a citizen initiative in 2018 is unsuccessful, then the 2019 referred measure will move forward, asking voters to issue $3.5 million in bonds with a maximum repayment of no more than $5 billion.
  • If both an initiative and referendum fail, then the $250 million will continue to be transferred from the General Fund to the State Highway Fund on an annual basis.

Bill Status
The House has yet to take up SB18-001, so in the meantime, we are advocating with our northwest metro region legislators, asking them to support four principles to advance multi-modal transportation, local share, preserve future managed lane projects and identify new funding to pay back any bonding efforts, which is consistent with the policy agenda of the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition and Commuting Solutions.

Get Involved

To achieve our multi-modal future, it takes leaders from every industry and community to advocate for the needs of the northwest metro region. Engage in the transportation conversation by:

  • Contacting your state legislators to weigh in on the transportation conversation
  • Meet state representatives and transportation partners by attending our Membership Meeting on June 19.

We would like to thank our state legislators for their service during the 2018 state legislative session and encourage community members throughout the northwest metro region to plug into the conversation.