BY FREDA MIKLIN
Shoshana Lew, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation, told Colorado Public Radio on November 8 that she expects our state to receive between $700 million and $800 million “in new money for transportation projects over the next five years,” from the $1 trillion infrastructure bill just passed by the Congress and signed into law by President Biden on November 15. According to Lew, the money will be used to help fund the state’s previously published 10-year plan of 400 highway and rural road projects. She also expects Colorado to receive an additional $215 million from the federal government to be used for public transportation projects statewide.
This funding is in addition to the projected $5.4 billion expected to be generated over the next 10 years from the fees generated and the general fund transfers provided in SB21-260. The bill, called “Sustainability of the Transportation System,” creates “new sources of dedicated funding and new state enterprises to enable the planning, funding, development, construction, maintenance, and supervision of a sustainable transportation system by preserving, improving, and expanding existing transportation infrastructure, developing the modern infrastructure needed to support the widespread adoption of electric motor vehicles, and mitigating adverse environmental and health impacts of transportation system.” It was signed into law by Governor Polis June 15, 2021. The new funding consists of fees phased in over ten years on gasoline and diesel, as well as electric vehicles (EVs). It also imposes fees on residential deliveries that began July 1 and fees on ride-sharing beginning in 2022.
In SB21-260, there is $310 million allocated to the installation of EV charging stations along with incentives for buying EVs and eBikes. Another $289 million is dedicated to the cost of replacing delivery trucks, school buses and ride-share vehicles, along with government fleets, with EVs. $134 million is allocated to replacing public buses with electric ones.