In Transit | March 2017
March 14, 2017 

Spring is almost here.. or it's already here. Who knows anyway these days? The trees are blooming, crocuses are flowering, warm weather is sweeping through our state, the legislative session is cooking, and most exciting of all, the Spring Conference is coming soon! We are excited to host you in a couple of months, and in the meantime check out this CASTA update!
In this Issue
  • March Agency Spotlight
  • Director Bhatt Testifying
  • Commuter Bus? Greeley-Fort Collins. 
  • Rural Counties Speak up for Transit
  • Colorado Town Hall Meetings
  • HB 1018 in Action
  • Executive Director Highlights
March Agency Spotlight

Director Bhatt Testifying

Nicely done!  CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on February 8, 2017. He highlighted the need for increased funding to address infrastructure improvements not only in Colorado but nationally.

Read his remarks here.

Call To Action: Attend a Town Hall Meeting Near You
If you haven't had a chance to meet with your legislators - a great way to get to know them as well as to introduce yourself and all your libraries do to support your communities is to attend a town hall meeting.
  • Basalt/Roaring Fork Town Hall with Diane Mitsch Bush
    • When: TBA
    • Where: TBA
  • Lakewood Town Hall with Representative Brittany Pettersen (every 3rd Saturday)
    • When: March 18th, 9:30-11:00am
    • Where: Lakewood Cultural Center 470 Allison Parkway Lakewood, CO 80226
  • Community Coffee with Senator Rhonda Fields (every 3rd Thursday)
    • When: March 16th 7-8pm
    • Where: Cariño Coffee, 20971 E Smoky Hill Road
  • Town Halls with Representative Steve Lebsock
    • When:  March 18th 10:30am-12:30pm ; April 22nd 10:30am-12:30pm ; May 20th 10:30am-12:20 pm
    • Where: Anythink Library, Huron Street Room B 9417 Huron St. Thornton, CO 80260
CASTA Spring Training Conference: Transit II

HB 1018 in Action 
The first bill to advance from the Colorado Legislature this year and become law could eventually be used by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority to fund upkeep and expansion of the valleywide public bus system.

House Bill 17-1018 extends the time period that regional transportation authorities can ask voters for approval of a property tax for public transit systems. The authorization to levy a property tax was set to sunset in January 2019. The new law extends the sunset until January 2029.

To read more, click here

Greeley- Fort Collins Commuter Bus in the Planning Stages
Continued growth across the region has Northern Colorado officials looking into the possibilities for establishing a commuter bus route between Fort Collins and Greeley.

For more details on the process, read here

Rural Counties Speak up for Transit

Demand for public transit is growing in Southwest Colorado, but state funding to support it is lacking, according to local agencies and a January report by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.

For more information, click here.

Executive Director Highlights
Your executive directors have been working on many fronts over the last month to represent transit users, providers, and professionals in Colorado's many transportation policy discussions. 
CASTA has spent quite a bit of time at the Colorado Legislature.  We testified in support of HB-1018 in front of the Senate Local Government committee which then passed the bill on to the full Senate where it was approved.  We were pleased to find that HB 1018 was the first bill signed by the Governor of the 2017 session!  Thanks again to those who testified, wrote letters of support and made calls to their legislators in support of the bill!

During February, CASTA continued to work in support of a statewide transportation funding bill by attending a number stakeholder meetings and events.  In addition, Elena met with Senator Grantham, President of the Senate to articulate transit needs around the state.  Earlier in the month Ann discussed rural transit with Speaker of the House Duran and her staff.  We also gave a presentation to the MPACT64 group on what rural transit looks like in Colorado.  
The statewide transportation funding bill was finally released late last week and we are pleased to see an amount set aside for transit.  The bill will likely see some changes as it travels through the House and Senate so be ready for some calls to action as we work to protect the parts that are most important to the CASTA membership.

In addition to these legislative activities, CASTA participated in the 5311 subcommittee meetings and hosted CASTA membership conference calls.  We appreciate the member comments and your willingness to provide background on possible outcomes, unintended consequences and general feedback as the subcommittee worked to find a fair and transparent distribution formula.  During the most recent subcommittee meeting the group came to a consensus around a distribution plan which will be presented to the Transportation Commission, TRAC and STAC over the next month.  Meanwhile the subcommittee will continue to meet to determine an appropriate way to phase in the new plan and then address 5310 funding distribution.

CASTA staff are also in the thick of finalizing the Spring Conference agenda, it's shaping up to be a great week of learning and networking in Fort Collins this May.  Check out the draft agenda to see what you need to learn this spring!

CASTA, in conjunction with RTD, was pleased to nominate Representative Perlmutter, winner of SWATA's 2016 Legislator of the Year award.  In the award presentation, it was noted that Congressman Perlmutter is not a flashy legislator that comes in and does one signature piece and then is never heard from again.  He has supported transit year after year as long as we've (CASTA) been coming to DC.  He gets transit - with RTD and now a train in his district, but also Lakewood Rides, the Seniors Resource Center and the rural systems in the foothills.  He cares less about mode and method and more about moving people . Representative Perlmutter has long been a supporter of transit in Colorado but last year held some of his town hall meetings on an RTD train. In addition to helping present this award, Elena is attending the APTA legislative conference in DC this week.

That's all, folks!  
Until next time, keep those wheels turning. 

The CASTA Crew
Upcoming Events 
March 30-31
APTA Managing the Environmental Process Seminar
San Francisco, CA
April 24-26
PASS Train the Trainer
Colorado Springs, CO

May 16-19
CASTA Spring
Training Conference 
Hilton Hotel
Fort Collins, CO
Colorado Association of Transit Agencies