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Colorado PoliticsColorado PoliticsMay 10, 20189min506

The recent opinion piece from Colorado teacher Jill Cullis shed some light on the problems facing Colorado’s schools. Recent increases in funding, with the bulk of those dollars not going to teachers' salaries, is the real problem. During Teacher Appreciation Week, we should highlight the fact that outstanding teachers are making the same salaries as mediocre or even underperforming teachers. In fact, based on outdated salary schedules used in most school districts, many underperforming teachers will make more than their “highly effective” counterparts.  This is an incredible disservice to Colorado educators and students.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 7, 20172min892

Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran is putting on a town hall Tuesday night to chat with the experts and community members about the challenges of the state’s population growth.

The state Demographer’s Office said Colorado’s population was about 5 million in 2010 and could reach 8 million by 2040.

The town hall is from 7 to 8: 30 p.m. at the Girls Athletic Leadership School at 750 Galapago St. in Denver

Duran’s panel includes:

  • Will Toor, director of transportation programs for  the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.
  • Laura Brudzynski from the Denver Office of Economic Development.
  • Rick Padilla, director of housing development for the city and county of Denver.
  • Carol Hedges, director of the Colorado Fiscal Institute.
  • Jerilynn Martinez, director of marketing and community relations for the Colorado Housing Finance Authority.
  • Jack Tone, a board member of the Lower Downtown Neighborhood Association.
  • Dre Chiriboga-Flor, transit organizer for 9to5.

“While growth has led to many benefits, such as low unemployment and good jobs for Coloradans, we need to take on the challenges that come with this growth,” Duran said. “Whether it is skyrocketing housing costs, dealing with the high cost of living or being stuck on the highway for hours during rush hour, we can and must to more to address these issues.”

Colorado is one of the fastest growing states in the country and already is far behind in funding roads and schools. Lawmakers such as Duran and state Reps. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, Tracy Kraft-Tharp, D-Arvada, and Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, have taken a lead on programs that help people plan for retirement and assess pubic services.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchSeptember 18, 20173min866
Colorado has a transportation plan on the table to spend $68 million on mass transit, greener fuels and a network of charging stations for electric vehicles. The only public hearing on the proposal is Monday afternoon in Denver. The money has to go for clear-air programs related to vehicle exhaust, according to the $14.7 billion […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 29, 20174min536

Environmental groups are cheering on a plan to spend Colorado’s $68 million lawsuit settlement from Volkswagen on green-powered solutions to getting around.

Under the draft, $18 million for transit buses, another $18 million for trucks and buses that run on alternative fuels, $10 million to electric vehicle charging stations plus administration and other clean-air spending.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will hold a public hearing on the prosal oon Sept. 18 and take public comments into October before a final decision that’s expected in November.

The $68 million is the state’s entire share of a mediated $14.7 billion settlement with Volkswagen after  it was discovered the automaker installed computer software to cheat emissions tests in about 550,000 diesel vehicles from 2009 through 2016. About 9,700 of those vehicles were sold in Colorado.

The money from the settlement must go toward reducing vehicle emissions.

“The goal of this settlement is to reduce harmful pollution and positively impact public health as much as possible,”Sophia Guerrero-Murphy, transportation and energy advocate for Conservation Colorado, the state’s largest environmental organization, said in a statement. “To accomplish these goals, the CDPHE needs to electrify our buses and trucks. This is also an opportunity to make sure our whole state benefits from infrastructure that will positively impact our air and quality of life, especially underserved urban and rural communities.”

The $10 million Colorado could put into electric-charging stations is the maximum the settlement allows. That’s enough to put in 60 fast-charging stations. The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project and the Colorado Public Interest Research Group say if those stations are placed 30 miles apart, the stations would offer enough juice to cross interstates 70, 25, and 76, along with most of U.S. 160, U.S. 550, U.S. 50, U.S. 285 and U.S. 40

“Volkswagen’s misleadingly dirty cars emitted pollutants by as much as 40 times over the legal limit,” said Danny Katz, CoPIRG’s director. “Colorado has an opportunity to use this money in a truly transformative way by focusing on electric cars, buses and trucks. Supporting electrification is the best way to put us on track to where we ought to go — a transportation system with zero emissions.”

Will Toor, the transportation program director for SWEEP, said Colorado should “hit the accelerator for electric vehicles” with the windfall.

“Because Colorado’s major utilities have been closing their most polluting older power plants and rapidly adding wind and solar, the state’s electricity mix is getting cleaner and cleaner so moving towards electricity as the fuel for vehicles puts us on a path to a zero emissions transportation system,” he said in the statement.

More electric vehicles on the road has the support of most statehouse Democrats, including Gov. John Hickenlooper. Last December he, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said they would draw up a plan over the next year to put up stations to give electric vehicles a network of more than 2,000 miles of highway.

“Our residents and the millions of visitors to our states will be able to drive electric vehicles from Denver to Salt Lake City to Las Vegas—from the Rockies to the Pacific,” Hickenlooper said at the time.