In this Capitol Report:
Full Withdrawal of Controversial Employee Traffic Reduction Plan Good for Colorado Workers and Businesses
DENVER – The Colorado Chamber released the following statement in response to the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) formally withdrawing the Employee Traffic Reduction Program (ETRP) from the rulemaking process:
“This development is welcome news for both businesses and the Coloradans they employ,” said Katie Wolf, Director of State Governmental Affairs for the Colorado Chamber. “The original ETRP proposal raised serious concerns about feasibility and overreach, especially as we look towards an economic recovery following the pandemic. It also would have unfairly disadvantaged hardworking Coloradans with unique commuting needs, from working moms to essential workers. We look forward to working with the commission to find balanced, practical solutions to improving our air without having a detrimental impact on employees and businesses.”
The ETRP program was a regulatory initiative by the AQCC aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions resulting in employee commutes to work. The originally drafted program created mandates surrounding the use of personal vehicles to drive to work, requiring businesses with more than 100 employees in the Front Range to reduce employee trips by 40%. This proposal did not offer any exemptions or considerations for the unique needs of employees, industries, or geographic areas.
In response to strong pushback from businesses across Colorado, the AQCC announced on Monday, July 19, that it would be revising the proposal to a voluntary program.
The commission officially withdrew the proposed rule this evening, indicating that it will be taking a voluntary approach outside of the formal rulemaking process. View the AQCC’s Withdrawal of Proposal by clicking here.
For additional reading on ETRP:
Colorado alters plan requiring large employers to reduce worker car trips by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal
Colorado violates EPA ozone standards again as business groups cheer gutting of draft commuting limits by Michael Booth, The Colorado Sun
Colorado backs off large company commuter rules, seeks voluntary compliance by Dennis Huspeni, The Gazette
Colorado formally withdraws controversial plan to reduce employee commuting by By Robert Davis, The Center Square
Commission hopes to cut emissions by reducing commuters by Andy Koen, KOAA News5
What They’re Saying: Colorado Workers Spoke Out About Commuter Mandate
Over the last several weeks as the Employee Traffic Reduction Plan (ETRP) was under consideration, the Colorado Chamber heard from many concerned Coloradans in opposition to the plan. While the proposal would have placed restrictive, costly burdens on businesses, it would have directly impacted their employees even more – limiting their choice of how to commute to work and personal use of their own vehicles.
Before the proposal was withdrawn this week, Colorado workers gave us their feedback in a petition against ETRP. Highlights from the comments are below:
“As a working mother, this rule would impact me being able to drop my children off at school, pick them up and in the case of an emergency get to them if they need me. This rule discriminates against working mothers.”
“One of many misguided and ignorant laws, proposals, and regulations that are hurting the lowest wage earners and the hard working business owners of our state.”
“I am appalled that non-elected bureaucrats are creating policy… Surely, E-Trip is unconstitutional.”
“My husband is in construction. He has to drive to work. He may make several trips throughout the day, on any given day due to the nature of his job and being a supervisor. This is insanity!”
“I work in a job that requires my own car and multiple trips during the day. This is a free country. I should be able to get to work however I want to.”
“My job requires travel between locations. To get to my main office I would have to drive to the train station, take 2 trains and then an Uber to get to work, and it would go from 35 minutes to an hour-and-a-half in travel… This would be a HUGE financial burden and again, I would still be in a car anyway. This also limits people with getting jobs or applying for higher paying jobs. Some people, such as myself, have to commute in order to afford rent. It also hurts working families that are already struggling to pay rent and daycare. How can you get your kid to daycare if you can’t drive? I would love to carpool, but it is not an option. Anyone who can work from home already is. Stop hurting your residents and voters!”
“Some of my family members have to drop off their kids at school on the way to work, so they have to drive.”
“I work in Arvada near the RTD light rail spur. I live in Lakewood. I cannot get to work by my 8AM start on RTP. Period. Until RTD recognizes that not everyone in the Metro area works downtown, this will not work!”
“How does the state intend to plan for my individual needs while implementing such draconian mandates?”
“This program is a huge over-reach of government and is a gigantic intrusion into citizens private lives. I would be adamantly opposed to such a program and would seriously doubt the constitutionality of this program. Please do not implement this wrong-headed approach!”
These are just a few of the many comments received by the Colorado Chamber from workers across the state who had strong opinions regarding the ETRP mandate which would have had a direct impact on their daily lives.
Recognition of a Colorado Chamber Rockstar: Dan Block!
We are incredibly fortunate to have Colorado Chamber of Commerce members who dedicate a significant amount of their time to the Chamber during the Legislative Session based on their subject matter expertise. One of those individuals is Dan Block, Shareholder, Law Firm of Robinson, Waters & O’Dorisio, PC.
Dan Block has over 25 years of experience as an attorney and has been an incredible resource to the Colorado Chamber on all things labor and employment related. Dan has spent hours, days and weeks working with our governmental affairs team on different pieces of employment legislation or regulations that impact Colorado businesses of all sizes. He has helped achieve significant improvements to many laws and regulations through his guidance, testimony and willingness to answer questions of legislators on these matters.
We are grateful for his commitment to protecting the interests of businesses statewide and helping many navigate the labryinth of new employment laws and regulations that have been adopted over the years.
A HUGE THANK YOU to Dan for his amazing efforts!