Message from the Executive Director: Thankful for a Wonderful Transportation Year

Audrey DeBarros HeadshotHappy November everyone! This year has flown by so quickly!

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I have a long list to be thankful for especially in the transportation sector! There were so many bills introduced and approved this year to improve multimodal transportation in the northwest metro region.

Over the summer, a $5 billion transportation funding bill, SB 260, was signed by Gov. Jared Polis which is expected to raise about $5.4 billion over the next 10 years. The plan will build out the state’s roads and bridges, create more electric vehicle charging stations, boost mass transit and mitigate air pollution.

More than $230 million was approved for critical transportation projects statewide by the Colorado Transportation Commission, which included more than $89 million for the Denver metro region.

Earlier this month, Congress passed the federal infrastructure bill which will send an estimated $700 million to $850 million to the state for transportation projects over the next five years.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is working on adopting new standards for Greenhouse Gas emission reductions, which is always a great thing! This standard would require CDOT and the state’s five Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to determine the total GHG emissions expected from future transportation projects and take steps to ensure that GHG emission levels do not exceed set GHG reduction amounts.

With all these great things that happened, there’s so much to continue to look forward to improving transportation in the northwest metro region.

We thank all our local, regional and state leaders for making transportation a high priority in 2021. Without the support and hard work of everyone, we would not have had so many successes this year!

President Joe Biden Signs Infrastructure Bill

On Monday, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan infrastructure bill which put more than $550 billion into transportation, broadband internet and utilities.

Earlier this month, Congress passed the federal infrastructure bill which will send an estimated $700 million to $850 million to the state for transportation projects over the next five years.

Colorado is expected to receive more than $5 billion from the bill over the next five years for highways, bridges, public transportation, expansion of broadband internet service, water infrastructure improvements, airport projects and more.

The state will decide how to apply the highway money to the Colorado Department of Transportation’s 10-year priority plan, which includes projects in the northwest metro region.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, major Colorado infrastructure achievements include:

  • Establish sustainable revenue sources that account for how all users of cars and trucks interface with the transportation system today
  • Put the state on track to deliver Gov. Jared Polis’ administration’s 10-year capital plan to fix the roads, bridges and multimodal system.
  • Make record investments in the transition to electric vehicles.
  • Establish a first of its kind enterprise fund specifically to advance clean transportation options and clean air in areas where residents suffer the most severe air pollution in the state.
  • Strength multimodal and transit options for state and local partners.
  • Expand the state’s Revitalizing Main Streets program.
  • Task the state to advance a first in the nation effort to establish pollution reduction planning standards for transportation infrastructure.
  • Create important institutional changes to strengthen clean transportation, equity and the supply chain.

For more information on the achievements, visit CDOT online.

Colorado Department of Transportation Extends Public Comment on Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Planning Standards

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is extending its public comment period to allow for the public to provide feedback regarding the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Planning Standard.

CDOT has proposed a new standard to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, improve air quality and reduce smog, and provide more travel options. The GHG Pollution Reduction Planning Standard is one of the several transportation strategies identified in the state’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap.

CDOT has held multiple hybrid public hearings throughout September and October to discuss the rulemaking process.
On Oct. 14, CDOT extended the public comment period through Nov. 18. Written comments can be submitted to dot_rules@state.co.us by noon.

To learn more about the standard, visit CDOT’s webpage.

Colorado Energy Office Releases Report about Zero Emission Trucks

The Colorado Energy Office recently released an analysis which projects that’s aggressive zero-emission vehicle policies could result in greenhouse gas reductions of up to 4.4 million metric tons compared to projected levels annually by 2050.

The report states there is potential to deliver more than $20 billion in benefits to Coloradans over the next 30 years.

The report discusses how adopting clean truck policies would cut medium- and heavy-duty vehicle emissions by 45% or more by mid-century and estimates prevented pollution is worth more than $10 billion.

To read the study, visit Colorado Energy Office’s website.

Message from the Executive Director: Colorado Department of Transportation’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Planning Standards

Audrey DeBarros HeadshotLast month the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced bold new transportation pollution reduction planning standards to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

The proposed standard is one of the several transportation strategies identified in the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap, which Gov. Jared Polis approved, and is a key requirement established in the 2021 state transportation funding bill, SB 260.

The standard will focus on transportation planning and is the step in the right direction.

Commuting Solutions applauds CDOT’s work and dedication to reducing GHG emissions from our state and region. We are proud that our local and regional leaders care about sustainable transportation as much as we do!

CDOT is collecting input to the proposed standard and will be holding a handful of meetings across the region including in Denver on Sept. 23 at the Swansea Recreation Center.

This is an important component of a plan that was approved to better our air quality and take sustainable actions for our state. I encourage you to read through the standard and comment on it.

We look forward to working with CDOT and our local leaders to ensure that transportation no longer plays an affect on climate change.

Cheers,

Audrey DeBarros, Executive Director

CDOT to Host Public Hearings for Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Standards Rulemaking

Last month, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) proposed new transportation pollution reduction planning standards which will reduce pollutions and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, improve air quality, reduce smog and provide more travel options.

The proposal will shape how state and local governments make plans for future projects to make sure there are more travel options and the infrastructures supports cleaner air.

According to CDOT, the draft standard would require CDOT and the state’s five Metropolitan Planning Organizations to determine the total pollution and GHG emission increase or decrease is expected from future transportation projects and take steps to ensure the GHG emissions do not exceed set reduction amounts.

The proposed standards build on the state’s efforts to expand electric vehicles as part of the state’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap, which Gov. Jared Polis approved.

CDOT is accepting written comments on the draft rule through Oct. 15. All written comments should be submitted to dot_rules@state.co.us before 5 p.m..

CDOT is also holding public hearings on the proposed ruling. On Sept. 23, a hearing is scheduled for Denver in the Swansea Recreation Center, to register visit CDOT online.

Message from Executive Director: Funding in Colorado Legislation

Audrey DeBarros HeadshotThe Colorado Transportation Commission, approved $238 million funding for critical transportation projects statewide, including more than $89 million for the Denver metro region.

Last month, Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 260 into law which is expected to raise about $5.4 billion over the next 10 years.

Commuting Solutions wants to extend a thank you to the Colorado Department of Transportation for awarding nearly $25 million to the I-25 and CO 7 mobility hub and for 95th Street/CO 42 multimodal intersection improvements, which are a part of the Northwest Area Mobility Study.

Another exciting element in transportation for our region that CDOT is involved with is reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions!

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) recently announced its new proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, improve air quality, reduce smog and provide more travel options.

The standard would require CDOT and the state’s five Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to determine the total GHG emissions expected from future transportation projects and take steps to ensure that GHG emission levels do not exceed set GHG reduction amounts.

The proposed standard recognizes the projects we build have an impact on how people travel and will bring about a transportation system which will provide more choices for travelers!

CDOT presented during Commuting Solutions’ Membership Meeting on Aug. 17 and discussed the next steps. We’re appreciative of CDOT’s efforts to making the northwest metro region as sustainable as it can be!

These are great steps to improving future transportation in the region!

Cheers,
Audrey DeBarros, Commuting Solutions Executive Director

Invest in America Act Update for Colorado Transportation

On Aug. 10 U.S. Senators passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which will bring funding to Colorado for highway projects, bride replacements and repairs, public transportation, expansion of electric vehicle charging network and more.  The infrastructure bill will also contain a five-year surface transportation reauthorization in addition to the increased spending on road, bridges, airports, ports, transit, rail, broadband and water.

In total, there could be more than $5 billion coming to the state for funding with $3.7 billion road improvements, $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs, $917 million for public transportation and more.

According to a fact sheet from the White House, Colorado is expected to receive $3.7 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs and $225 for bridge replacement and repairs over five years.

Regarding sustainable transportation, Colorado is expected to receive $916 million over five years under the Act to improve public transportation options across the state. The state is also expected to receive $57 million over five years to support the expansion of an electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the state.

Immediately passing the following of the bill, Senate Democrats agreed to a $3.5 trillion budget resolution which sets instructions to 12 congressional committees on how to develop legislation. Senate committees must report back to the Senate by Sept. 15 with their proposals.

Both of these items will return to the House, which could consider the budget resolution during the week of Aug. 23.

Click here to read the entire fact sheet.

A Message from the Executive Director: Employee Traffic Reduction Program

Audrey DeBarros HeadshotNext month, the Air Quality Control Division will be holding a two-day rulemaking hearing to discuss the Employee Traffic Reduction Program (ETRP), which will affect businesses across the northwest metro region.

ETRP is a new rule that is being proposed by two organizations, the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division (ACPD) and was included in Gov. Jared Polis’ Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap.

The rule will set goal for large employers to achieve reductions in the number of employees who drive alone, or “single-occupant vehicle” (SOV) employee commutes.

A program that offers telecommuting, public transit, ridesharing or other means not only benefits air quality, but it can also improve employee wellness, retention and company culture.

As a Transportation Management Organization (TMOs), Commuting Solutions is committed to successful, business friendly, ETRP that can reduce vehicle miles traveled and achieve Greenhouse Gas reductions.

As TMOs, we want to see the business community be successful, we want to help employers improve the quality of life for their employees through innovative commuting programs such as ETRP.

The rulemaking hearing will take place from Aug. 18 to 20.

Since early 2020, Commuting Solutions began working with other TMOs to explore the ETRP and how it could work and effect businesses, as well as creating a business-friendly role in the northwest metro region. We plan to create an employee portal to make it easy for employers to implement the new rule.

Employee Trip Reduction Program to be Discussed this Summer

The Air Quality Control Commission will hold a rulemaking hearing regarding the Employee Traffic Reduction Program from Aug. 18 to 20.

The ETRP is a new rule that is being proposed by two organizations, the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) and Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) and was included in Gov. Jared Polis’ Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap.

This rule would set goals for large employers to achieve reductions in the number of employees who drive alone, or “single-occupant vehicle” (SOV) employee commutes. A program that offers telecommuting, public transit, ridesharing or other means not only benefits air quality, it can also improve employee wellness, retention and company culture. The Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) will take the rule under consideration in May 2021, requesting a rulemaking hearing be set for August 2021.

Commuting Solutions is working with partnering Transportation Management Organizations (TMOs), Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) and the Denver Regional Council of Government (DRCOG) to provide comments to the draft rule.

Learn more by visiting the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division’s website.