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May 7, 2024

Vigil, Marvin Bill to Increase Transit Ridership Passes House

Legislation would extend the popular Ozone Season Free Transit Grant Program, extend a tax credit for alternative transportation use, and establish a free transit program for youth

DENVER, CO – The House today passed legislation sponsored by Representatives Stephanie Vigil and Julia Marvin that would increase the use of transit in Colorado. SB24-032 passed by a vote of 44-17.

“As a multi-modal traveler in a city on the rise, I'm so proud of the progress that Colorado has made in recent years to expand transit options, and to carry this legislation that will boost and expand our efforts,” said Rep. Stephanie Vigil, D-Colorado Springs. “We’re building on our existing zero fare program to cover either zero fare during the summer months or year-round free transit for Colorado youth. Transportation choice means more freedom and opportunities for Coloradans, less traffic, and cleaner air."

“During my time as a local elected official, my community expressed a great need for more transit options in the Northern Corridor to get to work, school, and appointments,” said Rep. Julia Marvin, D-Thornton. “Our legislation looks to address barriers to public transportation ridership, increase connectivity between local and regional transit agencies, and create more multi-modal travel opportunities for our communities. I know this bill will have a significant impact on hardworking Coloradans and will reaffirm our commitment to reaching our air quality goals.” 

SB24-032 would create the Youth Fare Free Transit Grant Program to provide grants to transit agencies around the state for fare-free year-round transit services for Coloradans ages 19 and younger. The bill would also extend the successful Ozone Season Free Transit Grant Program that funds Colorado’s free transit rides during peak ozone season, which is set to expire without further legislative action.

Finally, the bill would extend the income tax credit for alternative transportation options and create a statewide transit pass exploratory committee within the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to produce a proposal for implementing a statewide transit pass. The committee would be created by October 1, 2024, and offer a proposal by July 1, 2026. The committee members would be appointed by the executive director of CDOT and must include representatives of transit agencies from across the state.

RTD data revealed a significant increase in the use of services, particularly buses within the district, during RTD’s 30-day Zero Fare for Better Air program.

RTD also experienced a 36 percent ridership increase between August 2021 and August 2022 as well as a 21 percent ridership increase between July 2022 and August 2022. There was also a significant increase in ridership in Pueblo, Colorado Springs and mountain communities.

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