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February 20, 2024

House Democrats Unveil Bill to Incentivize Housing Near Transit

Legislation would incentivize housing near transit options, and create tax credit to support affordable housing construction and an infrastructure development fund

DENVER, CO - House Democrats today unveiled 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.

“Ninety-five percent of Coloradans agree: The rent (and housing costs) are too damn high,” said Rep. Steven Woodrow, D-Denver. “We have to take action now to save people money on housing so that our loved ones and neighbors can continue to call Colorado home. By removing red tape, this legislation will allow communities to strategically increase housing options near transit hubs and job centers to address our housing shortage while reducing emissions, air pollution, traffic and vehicle miles traveled.”

"Low-density housing creates sprawl, forcing Coloradans to live farther from their jobs, grocery stores, and schools,” said Rep. Iman Jodeh, D-Aurora. “It doesn’t have to be this way. We can change the status quo to create a more affordable Colorado that works for its people. Our bill would increase housing options near transit centers to save Coloradans money on housing and transportation while reducing traffic congestion and improving our air quality.”

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 when they 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 to identify areas close to transit services and shopping districts where qualifying cities and municipalities could build more affordable housing. Cities and municipalities 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. Municipalities could meet the Housing Opportunity Goals a number of different ways including increasing the height of 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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