Colorado took a number of good steps forward around the health of our state
One theme was the investment of millions of dollars into important solutions.
Transit – $28 million was dedicated to at least a month of fare-free transit during summer ozone season at RTD and other transit agencies around the state.
Eliminating transit fares can increase transit ridership, which is an important long-term strategy to reduce air pollution. A recent “Free Fare February” pilot undertaken by the Utah Transit Authority saw ridership increase 17% during weekdays, 58% on Saturdays and 33% on Sundays during the course of the program.
A month of fare-free transit is not enough to solve our ozone problems but eliminating fares will recruit a lot more people to ride transit and build momentum for the bigger investments we need to significantly increase and improve transit service.
SB22-180 also invested $30 million in Colorado’s statewide bus system, Bustang. Launched in 2015, Bustang’s ridership significantly grew from 102,503 annual riders in its first year to 238,302 annual riders in its fourth year.
$30 million is enough to take Bustang routes that have a few buses a day and expand them so they come hourly. That kind of service will increase clean travel options along I-25 and I-70, some of our busiest corridors.