Polis signs bills to pump millions of dollars into public transit

Groundwork for possible car-free living along Colorado’s Front Range got done Thursday as Gov. Jared Polis signed four bills into law to boost public transportation.

The new laws let state leaders pump tens of millions into transit projects, foremost a multi-billion-dollar rail system linking Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins and, eventually, Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

Polis rode a Regional Transportation District B-Line train from Westminster to Union Station Thursday and signed the following measures:

— SB24-229 – A crackdown on air pollution from oil and gas production. It makes reducing nitrogen oxide pollution, which leads to worse ozone, a matter of law and sets up state rulemaking to control emissions from vehicles and industry.

—SB24-230 – Imposes new fees on oil and gas production, raising an estimated $138 million a year for spending on wildlife habitat and public transit – including rail projects.

— SB24-32 – Starts creation of a statewide transit pass for residents to ride public transit anywhere in the state. A 15-member team will explore options and make the pass available by 2028. This bill also boosts grants to allow free transit during summer when ozone air pollution surges above health limits and year-round for Colorado youth.

— SB24-184 – Imposes a $3-a-day fee on rental cars to raise more than $50 million a year for public transit including the intercity passenger rail system.

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“There are already Coloradans who live a car-free lifestyle. I would say the vast majority of Coloradans are going to want a car in the foreseeable future,” Polis said. “But a majority of families also are going to enjoy the convenience. Cars are expensive — not just the cost of the car. Insurance. Gas. … There are many families who would rather put that money toward something else.”

RTD general manager Debra Johnson lauded the bill signing at Union Station, anticipating a possible role for her agency along with the Colorado Department of Transportation and the federal government in funding passenger rail. “We are …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Politics


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