In this Capitol Report:
Colorado Chamber Leads Business Coalition on Worker Commuting Mandate
Colorado’s public health department is currently considering a sweeping proposal that would create onerous mandates on how Coloradans commute to work in an attempt to lower greenhouse gas emissions on the Front Range. The proposal, called the Employee Traffic Reduction Plan (ETRP) is a regulatory initiative by Gov. Polis, which is still in the draft process and will have a public hearing in August. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is currently taking written comments on the rules.
As it’s currently drafted, the plan would require all businesses that have more than 100 employees reporting to a worksite to incrementally reduce the number of employees commuting to work through commuting alternatives, like carpooling, public transit, and remote work. By 2024, these businesses would be required to reduce individual employee commutes to 60 percent of total workers at the company – meaning only 60 percent of a company’s current commuting workforce could drive their own personal vehicles to work. Companies would also be required to appoint an employee transportation coordinator and submit annual reports to the state, all paid for and organized by employers.
While this draft proposal applies to a broad section of Colorado’s front range, there are indications that this could shift to a statewide mandate. The draft rules are derived from a 2019 bill that passed the Colorado General Assembly requiring phased reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The Colorado Chamber has secured party status for the proposed rules and is leading a coalition of businesses and industry groups to fight the problematic aspects of this proposal.
The coalition met this week to outline the most problematic provisions of the rules, the most important of which is that the rules offer no exemptions to businesses based on industry or essential workers. This is concerning for a broad range of industries and work settings, including manufacturing, construction, energy, and hospitals.
For many businesses with employees and job functions that cannot be done remotely, a meaningful reduction in commuting isn’t feasible. There should be specific carveouts for essential workers and emergency responders. Further, placing these restrictions on businesses will also have a real, direct impact on employees. Colorado workers have unique needs outside of work, and limiting their ability to use personal vehicles raises serious concerns about overreach.
The geographic scope of the bill is also concerning. These rules would apply broadly to businesses across the entire front range from Fort Collins to Denver to Colorado Springs, including more rural areas with inadequate access to mass transit. This leaves companies in those areas with few options to comply with the law.
The coalition also believes that applying this rule to companies with 100 or more employees is too broad in scope. The Colorado Chamber will be working to narrow that threshold.
If you or your business would like to be added to the coalition on the ETRP Program, please contact Katie Wolf at [email protected].