Colorado proposal would fund free public transit in the summer

A proposed bill in the Colorado state legislature would allocate funds for free public transit rides in a bid to reduce air pollution in the state and encourage greater transit ridership in common, writes Sam Brasch for Colorado Public Radio. State Sen. Faith Winter (D) said, “One way to combat this pollution is to increase ridership on public transportation, which is a challenge in the wake of the pandemic.”

Brasch writes that “if the proposed legislation is passed, the Colorado Energy Office will oversee a new grant program to help eliminate tariffs during the summer ozone season, which runs from June 1 through August 31. It provides sufficient funds to award $11 million annually to the Denver Metro Regional Transportation District and $3 million annually to all other local transportation associations.

The proposal was turned down by the Regional Transportation District (RTD), the Denver-area transit agency. “During the negations [sic] On the bill, [Marta Sipeki, RTD’s interim assistant general manager of communications]said RTD executives pushed for a “more cautious and gradual approach” to free transit as the agency struggled to hire enough drivers and deal with a rise in crime, consumption drugs and violence in some of its facilities”.

As a result, if the legislation is passed, the agency will start offering free rides during the month of August rather than all summer for the next two years.

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