Governor Polis signs transportation bill, positioning Colorado to accelerate electric vehicle deployment, expand multimodal transportation, and reduce pollution
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Matt Frommer, Senior Transportation Associate, SWEEP
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[DENVER, CO] – Today, Colorado Governor Polis signed Senate Bill 260 (SB260) into law. The legislation will raise $5.4 billion over the next 10 years through a combination of general fund transfers and new fees on gasoline, diesel, electric vehicles (EVs), residential deliveries, and rideshare trips to repair and expand our decaying transportation system and clean up its air pollution.
While not perfect, the legislation is a decisive win for EVs, dedicates much-needed funding to multimodal transportation projects, creates protections for communities disproportionately impacted by transportation pollution, and requires more climate-focused transportation planning, setting the stage for an important Greenhouse Gas (GHG) rulemaking at the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) later this summer.
Earlier this year, the Polis Administration released their Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap with a set of policy recommendations to achieve the House Bill 19-1261 climate targets. According to the modeling, Colorado must reduce GHG pollution from transportation 25% by 2025 and 40% by 2030 through a combination of vehicle electrification -- with a goal of 1 million EVs by 2030 -- and strategies that reduce vehicle travel 10% by 2030.
Here’s a breakdown of the clean transportation investments:
$734 million for 3 new Transportation Electrification Enterprises (According to the Polis Administration, 30-40% of the funds will be used to benefit low-income or disproportionately-impacted communities):
Community Access Enterprise ($310 million) to support the installation of EV charging stations and create rebates for low-income households to replace older, high-polluting gasoline cars with EVs and electric bikes.
Clean Fleet Enterprise ($289 million) to support the replacement of high-polluting delivery trucks, Uber and Lyft vehicles, school buses, and other private and government fleets with EVs, particularly those operating in disproportionately-impacted communities.
Clean Transit Enterprise ($134 million) to support the electrification of public transit buses.
$453 million to the Multimodal and Mitigations Options Fund (MMOF) to build safe and connected transit, biking, and walking infrastructure. Importantly, these funds require a 1:1 match from local governments, so total investment should be at least $906 million.
$115 million for the Revitalizing Main Streets program, an excellent new initiative launched by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) in 2020 to improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in downtown areas.
$234 million for the Nonattainment Area Air Pollution Mitigation Enterprise to mitigate the public health impacts of transportation pollution in disproportionately-impacted communities. The bill also creates an Environmental Justice Department within CDOT and requires air quality monitoring during highway construction to protect adjacent neighborhoods from pollution.
SB260 also raises about $2.5 billion over 10 years to fund CDOT’s 10 Year Plan, including several big highway expansion projects that will increase driving and pollution. However, the bill also requires CDOT and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to measure the induced demand and GHG impacts of their highway capacity projects and update their plans in the next couple of years to comply with the GHG budgets established by the AQCC.
“This legislation establishes Colorado as a national leader on EV policy and represents the largest state investment in EVs of any state outside California,” said the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project’s Matt Frommer. “It also sets the stage for the upcoming rulemaking at the AQCC to align our transportation spending with our climate goals by investing less in big highway projects and more in multimodal transportation.”
“SB260 includes critical investments to increase access to EV charging, accelerate the turnover from polluting diesel buses to electric ones, and enable the state to address equity concerns to ensure EVs benefit all Coloradoans, regardless of their income,” said Aaron Kressig of Western Resource Advocates. “The passage of this legislation will make Colorado a national leader in electrifying our cars, trucks, and buses to help address climate change and reduce dangerous air pollution which is a growing concern for Colorado’s Front Range communities.”
"SB260 is an important component of Colorado's continued efforts to build a modern, sustainable transportation system," said Advanced Energy Economy's Noah Garcia. "This bill provides stable, multi-year funding critical to boosting the availability of affordable EVs, accelerating the build-out of charging stations that meet the needs of drivers and businesses, and extending the benefits of Colorado's economic recovery to all corners of the state."
“SB260 is an encouraging development in Colorado’s efforts to reduce ozone and GHGs from transportation,” said Bonnie Trowbridge of Denver Metro Clean Cities Coalition. “This investment in the clean transportation and mobility sector, from passenger cars to heavy-duty trucks and buses, will accelerate cleaner air for Colorado, especially in communities that are disproportionately impacted by pollution and households that cannot afford an EV.”
“SB260 seriously acknowledges and embraces the vast transformation that is taking place within global transportation systems,” the Electrification Coalition’s Ben Prochazka said. “This legislation will help accelerate the adoption of electric cars and trucks, spur innovation, provide much-needed funding for Colorado’s roads and bridges, and serve as an excellent example to other states. We applaud Governor Polis and the state legislators whose hard work is a testament to Colorado’s continued leadership in transportation policy.”
"SB260 provides crucial support for the unique transportation needs of Colorado’s Western Slope," said Stefan Johnson of Garfield County-based Clean Energy Economy for the Region. "We have longer average commutes and distances between housing, jobs and essential services in our rural communities. The increased funding for EV charging stations and multi-modal transportation options will help improve access and choice to low-carbon transportation for all."
“With his signature, Governor Polis has super-charged the push to electrify vehicles and fleets all across Colorado. The clean transportation investments in this package will have significant benefits for the state, improving air quality and spurring new jobs in this fast-growing industry, and will position Colorado businesses, commuters, and public transit agencies as leaders in embracing the zero-emission transportation future. We’re excited to see these funds put to good use soon,” said Alli Gold Roberts, director of state policy at Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit that organized a May letter from 11 companies calling on state lawmakers to prioritize vehicle electrification.
SWEEP published a longer blog to break down the specifics of SB260 and what it means for Colorado’s transportation and climate goals.
The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is a non-profit organization that advances more efficient energy use and clean transportation solutions in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. swenergy.org