Colorado Wants to Tell You How to Commute to Work
How you get to and from work is your own business – maybe you have to drop kids off at school or day care. Maybe you have to run an errand on the way to the office or leave early for an appointment. Whatever your circumstances are, it shouldn’t be the government’s business how you use your own time once you clock out and leave the office.
But Colorado regulators are trying to make it their business. The state’s public health department is currently considering a sweeping proposal, called the Employee Traffic Reduction Plan (E-Trip), which would create onerous mandates on how Coloradans commute to work. The goal is to lower greenhouse gas emissions along the Front Range.
Coloradans will not be able to vote on this proposal and legislators will not be able to debate this proposal in the General Assembly – it’s being considered through a complicated regulatory process by unelected state agency officials.
E-Trip would require all businesses that have more than 100 employees to incrementally reduce the number of people driving to work through commuting alternatives, like carpooling, public transit, and remote work. There have even been suggestions to employers to stop paying for employee parking. By 2024, businesses would be required to reduce individual employees’ single vehicle trips to and from work by 40%.
The plan fails to recognize the unique needs of certain workers, industries, or geographic areas and there are no exemptions. While some businesses may be able to comply with the plan by allowing certain workers to work remotely (which many employers are already pursing on their own in a post-pandemic economy), for others, it’s simply not realistic or possible. Hospitals, construction and energy companies, manufacturers, and other essential industries require a significant in-person presence.
Colorado’s Front Range also doesn’t have the transportation infrastructure to support this plan. While those in Central Denver may be able to commute to work via public transportation, the logistics are much more difficult in rural or suburban communities who don’t have adequate or equitable access to mass transit. E-Trip treats workers unfairly – those who don’t live close to work or near an urban area will be disproportionately impacted by the mandates..
Colorado workers have unique needs outside of work. Limiting your ability to use personal vehicles raises serious concerns about government overreach. Your commute is your time.