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.

Colorado House of Representatives Pass Front Range Passenger Rail District Bill

Earlier this month, the House passed Senate Bill SB 21-238, which would create a Front Range Passenger Rail District. The bill was recently sent to Gov. Jared Polis’ desk for approval.

SB 21-238 will create a Front Range Passenger Rail District. This bill would create a district for planning, designing, developing, financing, constructing, operating and maintaining a passenger rail system, specify the territory, governing structure, powers and duties of the district.

According to the bill, the district is specifically required to work collaboratively with the Regional Transportation District (RTD) to ensure interconnectivity with any passenger rail system operated by or for the RTD and with Amtrak.

The area the district comprises of extends from Wyoming to New Mexico and includes:

  • The entirety of the City and County of Broomfield and City and County of Denver
  • All areas within Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Huerfano, Jefferson, Larimer, Las Animas, Pueblo and Weld Counties within the territory of a metropolitan planning organization (MPO)
  • All areas within Huerfano, Las Animas, and Pueblo counties that are not located within the territory of a MPO and are located within a county precinct that is located wholly or partly within 5 miles of the public right-of-way of interstate highway 25; and
  • All areas within Larimer and Weld counties that are not located within the territory of a MPO and are located within a county precinct that is north of the city of Fort Collins and is located wholly or partly within 5 miles of the public right-of-way of interstate highway 25.

The sponsors of the bill include Senator Leroy Garcia, Senator Rachel Zenziner, Rep. Daneye Esgar and Rep. Matt Gray.

Gov. Jared Polis to sign Colorado Transportation Bill, 21-260

This post has been updated on June 18, 2021 to reflect Gov. Jared Polis signed the transportation bill on June 17. 

Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 21-260, a $5.3 billion transportation bill on Thursday morning, a 10-year plan to build out Colorado’s roads and bridges, create more electric vehicle charging stations,. boost mas transit and mitigate air pollution.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, Speaker Alec Garnett, Senator Faith Winter and Representative Matt Gray introduced the transportation bill, which will drive Colorado’s economic comeback, establish a sustainable funding source to improve roads, invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and expand multimodal and transit options to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

The package will take about $1.5 billion from the state operating budget over the next decade, but it will most rely on new changes including:

  • A road usage fee that would ratchet up annually over 10 years to maximum of 8 cents.
  • 3.5 cents per prearranged ride in a zero-emission vehicle and 7.5 cents for every other vehicle.
  • 6.9 cents for retail deliveries
  • 5.3 cents for each delivery to support a fund to transition government fleets to electric vehicles.
  • Raising the $50 registration fee for electric vehicles with an index that makes EVs equitable to what combustion vehicles pay.
  • Indexing the current $2 fee per day on vehicle rentals to inflation, exempting car-sharing programs.
  • Changing the Statewide Bridge Enterprise to the Statewide Bridge and Tunnel Enterprise, and authorizing its board to impose a fee on diesel and
    retail deliveries.

Fees will kick in starting July 1.

For the first two years, the proposal reduces vehicle registration fees. New fees won’t begin until mid-2022 and will be nominal, costing the average driver about $28 in the first year, and will be spread across all users using the system to bring down costs on people. The fees are estimated to raise $3.8 billion over the next decade.

The bill promotes collaboration between CDOT, the Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) and the Colorado Energy Office.

Over the course of the 11-year plan set forth by the bill, nearly $2.8 billion will be generated through new fee revenue and the bill will leverage nearly $1.5 billion in state general fund revenue and stimulus dollars.

A Message from the Executive Director: Historic Times for Transportation Funding

Audrey DeBarros HeadshotHappy June, everyone!

It is crazy to believe we are already halfway through 2021! As we reflect on these last six months, there has been a lot of exciting news in the transportation sector for the northwest metro region!

Just a few days ago, the Colorado Legislature wrapped up the 73rd General Assembly and made it a historic session for the transportation sector!

At state and federal levels, bills have been passed and signed regarding funding and climate change policy which will affect and improve transportation for the region and state.

Senate Bill (SB) 21-260 will diversify how transportation funding is raised and spent in Colorado which will support road repair, expansion to electric vehicle adoption, multimodal, environmental mitigation and much more.

SB 21-238, which was approved by the House and Senate, will create a Front Range Passenger Rail District which will plan, design, develop, finance, construct, operate and maintain a passenger rail system, specify the territory, governing structure, powers and duties of the district.

We look forward to seeing what the rest of 2021 has in store for the region!

Cheers!

Audrey DeBarros

Executive Director

Employee Trip Reduction Program Rulemaking Process

The Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) will discuss the Employee Trip Reduction Program (ETRP) on Thursday and determine whether there will be a rulemaking hearing this summer.

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.