Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirFebruary 3, 20173min472

More food for thought as state lawmakers gird for an epic push to forge a transportation-funding plan: A report released by the Boulder-based Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, or SWEEP, says Colorado is ranked 29th among states in per capita funding for public transit, investing just one-twentieth of the national average in the likes of buses and light rail.

From SWEEP’s press release announcing its findings:

The dearth of state dollars going toward public transit is part of a broader puzzle Colorado faces in untangling its intertwined problems of rapid population growth, constrained funding, congested roads and inadequate public transit for rural residents as well as urban dwellers.

“Colorado has historically invested very little state money into public transit compared to other states, spending only $2.62 annually per person, or less than one cent per day. That’s compared to the national average of over $53 per person per year or almost 15 cents per person each day,” said Will Toor, SWEEP’s transportation program director.

SWEEP is a familiar presence at the Capitol, advocating for greater energy efficiency in Colorado as well as Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

“Transportation” is, of course, variously defined at the legislature. Republicans tend to keep it simple; they spell it H-I-G-H-W-A-Y-S. Many Democrats are more likely to include everything from expanded bus service to bike lanes. It’s a classic guns-vs.-butter debate that loops in environmentalists, highway contractors, the business community and economic-development types.

If an elusive transportation-funding agreement is at last hammered out, look for it to include a little something for all of those stakeholders — though the state’s overburdened and aging highway infrastructure will, by definition, be at the head of the line in any funding package.


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Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinNovember 7, 20167min905

Colorado public interest, environmental and public health organizations have called upon the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to use funds from the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal to support a transition to a zero-emission transportation future. At issue is $61.3 million Colorado will receive between 2017 and 2027 from a settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Volkswagen related to the company’s violation of emission control laws in more than half a million vehicles.