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March 7, 2024

Committee Approves Legislation to Incentivize Housing Near Transit

Legislation would save Coloradans money on housing by encouraging housing near transit options and supporting local efforts

DENVER, CO - The House Transportation, Housing & Local Government Committee today passed legislation to save people money on housing by building more housing near public transit, cycling and walking corridors, places of employment, and other centers of community. It would also provide financial support to cities, counties, and municipalities that meet their housing goals. HB24-1313 passed by a vote of 7-3.

“We can all agree that housing affordability is at crisis levels in our state, and we have to act now,” said Rep. Steven Woodrow, D-Denver. “This legislation unlocks the door for more affordable housing near transit. Coloradans want and deserve shorter commutes and safe, walkable neighborhoods. This bill advances our climate and housing goals, and I’m grateful to the committee and all the stakeholders for helping us get this done.”

“We all want a Colorado where our essential workers can afford their rent and families can buy a home, and this bill will help get us there,” said Rep. Iman Jodeh, D-Aurora. “Our bill reduces housing costs by removing burdensome barriers in order to encourage more housing near transit and job centers. It provides financial support to local governments that meet their housing goals. By building in a smart, strategic way, we can bring down the cost of living and prevent our loved ones and neighbors from being pushed out of our communities.”

HB24-1313 would increase affordable housing options and help prevent Coloradans from being displaced from their communities by encouraging strategic housing development near transit and job centers. The bill empowers local governments to address Colorado’s housing needs and incentivizes them to build more housing by providing financial assistance to help meet their housing goals. It also aims to conserve our natural resources and improve our air quality to protect vulnerable communities from pollution-related health issues.

The bill would establish Housing Opportunity Goals in areas close to transit services where qualifying cities and counties could build more housing. Subject jurisdictions would have the flexibility to decide where it makes sense to build more housing to ensure they are meeting the diverse needs of their communities. Jurisdictions could meet the Housing Opportunity Goals a number of different ways including increasing the maximum building height in multi-family and mixed-use zones, or allowing multi-family residences in commercial-only or single-family zones.

Communities that meet their Housing Opportunity Goals would benefit from a new Affordable Housing Tax Credit and the Transit-Oriented Communities Infrastructure Fund to support their efforts in increasing housing opportunities near public transit, employment centers, safe biking and walking corridors.

HB24-1313 applies to cities only if they are in Metropolitan Planning Organizations, have a population over 4,000, and have more than 75 acres of Transit Areas. Of the approximately 30 jurisdictions that would qualify under this bill, most are along the I-25 corridor. 

A recent poll found that 95 percent of Coloradans say the cost of renting or buying a home is a problem, with 70 percent saying that local governments aren’t doing enough to address this issue. Nearly 70 percent of Colorado voters also support a state law, like HB24-1313, to require cities and counties to allow more housing to be built near public transit and businesses and shopping areas while providing financial assistance for these projects.

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