Move Colorado joined a chorus of 22 organizations and individuals testifying in support of SB22-180, Concerning Programs to Reduce Ground Level Ozone Through Increased Transit, Thursday afternoon. The House Energy & Environment Committee passed the bill by a vote of 8-4 sending it to Appropriations.
Testimony from Move Colorado’s Executive Director, Tamra Ward
Good afternoon, Chairman Valdez and members of the Committee. My name is Tamra Ward and I am here today on behalf of Move Colorado. For more than 25 years Move Colorado has worked alongside community, business, and political leaders to improve Colorado’s transportation funding outlook. I am here today to voice our support for SB22-180, Concerning Programs to Reduce Ground Level Ozone Through Increased Transit.
Move Colorado believes in the importance of supporting a multi-modal transportation system, providing Coloradans with transportation options. We also understand the real impact vehicle emissions can have on our climate. With that in mind, we actively engaged in reviewing and providing comments to CDOT during the recent GHG Rule Marking Process.
We applaud the sponsors for their work on this measure, and their efforts to ensure the proposal takes into consideration the unique needs of transit agencies and organizations from across the state. It is our belief that the time is right for this strategic approach which we believe will:
- Promote maximizing use of current transit assets and operations,
- Test and pilot the benefits and challenges of a fare-free transit system,
- Encourage and reconnect with transit customers for recovery of ridership, and
- Improve air quality by reducing emissions in the summer peak time.
If SB22-180 proves successful this approach may lead to increased understanding of the state’s transit system and its daily benefit, leading to increased long-term ridership and a positive environmental outcome. We believe this is a win-win and urge a “yes” on SB22-180. I would be pleased to answer any questions.
Testimony from Ann Rajewski of CASTA (a Move Colorado member)
Good afternoon, Chair and members of the committee. My name is Ann Rajewski. I am the Executive Director of CASTA, the Colorado Association of Transit Agencies. CASTA represents 50 transit agencies around the state, ranging from RTD in Denver to Dolores County Senior Services in Dolores County Colorado. On behalf of the CASTA Board, I am here today to testify in support of Senate Bill 22-180.
We support this bill because it would bring a well-timed statewide focus on gaining new transit ridership. Agencies are looking forward to leveraging free fares to encourage riders to try transit, giving them a month to develop a new transit habit.
UTA, Utah Transit Authority, provided fare-free service for the month of February in 2022. They found that weekday ridership increased by 16% while their Saturday ridership increased by 58%! In their rider survey, 87% of the participants said they were very likely or somewhat likely to ride transit more if UTA services were free. (check out their report here)
The SB 180 funding will allow RTD and transit agencies around the state to entice new riders to take transit to work, school and errands. All this leads to reducing vehicle miles traveled and ozone formation in the state of Colorado.
Funding will also allow agencies to implement new routes and services to provide better mobility in their communities. Thank you for your consideration to support this bill. I’m happy to answer any questions.