Section 2 of the act increases the flexibility of the ozone season transit grant program by:
- Allowing an eligible transit agency that operates in an area in which ozone-causing traffic levels are typically highest during a different period than June 1 to August 31 of a calendar year to identify a different period of the calendar year for its "ozone season" in an application for a grant to offer fare-free service during the identified period;
- Specifying that if the Colorado energy office (CEO) awards a grant for a year to a transit association or to the regional transportation district in an amount that is less than the applicable maximum amount allowed by law, then the maximum amount of such a grant that the CEO may award for the next year is increased by an amount equal to the amount that could have been but was not awarded for the prior year;
- Specifying that a grant recipient may use grant money for reasonable marketing expenses incurred to raise awareness of free service and increase ridership and to conduct rider surveys to better measure the impact of the program on ridership and vehicle miles traveled in private motor vehicles;
- Clarifying that an eligible transit agency may use grant money to expand free services or free routes or increase the frequency of service on routes for which free service is already offered; and
- Allowing the regional transportation district to use grant money to cover the full costs, rather than up to 80% of the costs, of providing at least 30 days of free transit on all services that it offers.
On or before November 30, 2023, section 3 requires the department of transportation to complete a study and study report of the boundaries of the transportation planning regions of the state (TPRs), the membership of the transportation advisory committee and the special interim transit and rail advisory committee, and the consistency and transparency of the transportation planning process across the transportation planning regions. The study must include consideration of specified matters and shall not include any recommendation that, if adopted, would reduce the number of rural TPRs. Before June 1, 2024, the transportation commission, taking into consideration the findings of the study, is required to initiate updates to its rules concerning the statewide transportation planning process and TPRs.
On and after September 1, 2023, section 5 requires the governing body of the transportation planning organization for each TPR to include at least one voting representative to represent all transit agencies in the TPR. The representative must be appointed by the transit agency or, if multiple transit agencies provide service in the transportation planning region, by agreement of the transit agencies. Section 4 defines the term "transportation planning organization" as used in section 5.
Section 6 increases the maximum rate of sales or use tax, or both, that a regional transportation authority (RTA) may impose, with voter approval, from one percent to 2%. Section 6 also makes permanent the existing power of a RTA to impose, with voter approval, a uniform mill levy of up to 5 mills, which power would otherwise expire at the end of the 2028 property tax year.
APPROVED by Governor April 28, 2023
EFFECTIVE April 28, 2023
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)