The Colorado Department of Transportation recently drafted a new rule that would require state and local governments to measure and potentially offset greenhouse gas emission impacts of transportation projects.
In this scheme, local government entities would have preset greenhouse gas emission budgets, and would be required to offset emissions if they exceed those budgets when implementing transportation projects. That could take the form of transit services, bicycle infrastructure, zoning decisions that enable density, et cetera. If these public entities do not meet requirements and don’t offset emissions, then the state may restrict their use of certain funds. (Note that this is literally the wording of the legislation itself: “certain funds.” It doesn’t specify which funds.)
This, of course, all comes as CDOT is slated to receive billions of dollars of new funding from the state and the federal government. The intent of the new rule, then, would be to shift conditions that are currently enabling status quo infrastructure investment that would continue to spread Colorado’s development pattern out farther and farther.
This week on Upzoned, Abby and Chuck take a look at an article from Colorado Public Radio that tackles this subject and they “upzone” it—i.e., they look at it through the Strong Towns lens. They talk about what does and doesn’t work with the top-down, bureaucratic approach this legislation is taking to address our development and climate issues.
Then, in the downzone, Chuck is following up on old characters, and Abby’s gearing up for a fun trip.