By Audra Streetman

DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that aims to boost ridership through the Regional Transportation District. House Bill 21-1186 would give the Regional Transportation District greater flexibility to lower fares and take advantage of new revenue sources.

(credit: CBS)

The state House passed the bill with a vote of 38-24. The legislation includes three provisions to create new revenue streams, boost ridership and improve services.

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“This bill is the culmination of a year-long collaborative effort to identify how we can improve services and bring greater accountability to RTD,” said state Rep. Matt Gray, a Democrat from Broomfield. “By providing RTD with necessary tools, this bill aims to boost ridership and ensure RTD is serving all of our communities.”

The Colorado House Republican Caucus released the following statement to CBS4 in opposition to the bill:

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“Despite the fact that we consistently go to the ballot box and ask voters to weigh in on these issues, Democrats continue to go against Coloradans and change policy against the will of the people. The current structure made sure that 30% of operating costs were always covered by revenue, which provided a safeguard that let voters know that a portion of the operating budget was always covered. Democrats’ proposal will eliminate any assurance the state had to both help ensure costs are being covered and that RTD is a good steward of taxpayer money.”

RTD is currently required to cover 30% of operating costs through fare revenue. The bill would remove that requirement, allowing RTD to reduce fares in order to boost ridership during the COVID-19 recovery.

The bill also allows RTD to develop district properties for retail, commercial or residential purposes. In addition, RTD would be able to contract with nonprofits and local governments to help lower operating costs.

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The bill now heads to a Senate committee before it goes to the full Senate for a vote.

Audra Streetman