Colorado To Prioritize Climate Impacts in Transportation Projects

Under new state regulations, Colorado transportation projects will be required to reduce GHG emissions and promote more sustainable transportation modes.

December 22, 2021, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Larimer Square

Geoff Livingston / Flickr

New rules from the Colorado Transportation Commission will shift the state's focus from road construction to more sustainable modes of transit in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An article by Noelle Phillips and Jon Murray outlines the new regulations, which transportation commissioner Kathleen Bracke called a "critically important milestone." Starting February 14, future projects will be required to assess the impact of new projects on emissions and switch to cleaner alternatives if the projections surpass a set limit. "The Department of Transportation’s commissioners hope the new rules build on the state’s push to put more electric vehicles on the road while improving mass transit, biking and walking options."

The rules received pushback from critics who worry that rural, car-dependent areas could suffer disproportionately from reduced transportation funding. Business groups and some local leaders in Colorado's burgeoning Northern Front Range region claim that the rapid growth of their communities indicates a need for roadway expansions, arguing that the Commission is overstepping its legal authority.

Meanwhile, environmental groups say the regulations don't go far enough to make the drastic reductions in emissions needed to mitigate the effects of climate change and air pollution. While the state has pledged to get one million electric vehicles on its roads by 2030, environmentalists say the benefits won't accrue fast enough.

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