NCLA Leads Business Regulatory Response to the State’s Mandated Employer Trip Reduction Program

The Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA), submitted its concerns and issues in a formal Pre-hearing Statement to the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission on July 9 in response to the state mandated Employer Trip Reduction Program (ETRP) proposal that is pending before the Commission and undergoing its formal regulatory hearing process.  The NCLA has been convening meetings, coordinating the business community response with other similarly minded formal parties and has engaged with legal and rulemaking counsel to present the strongest case against this proposed mandatory employer-based program that will impose burdens upon employees of businesses with 100 or more employees. 

Approximately 2,600 companies across the Denver Metro Area and the North Front Range, including 350 in Larimer and Weld County, will be required to comply with pending ETRP by April of 2022.  If approved, the program will mandate that these economically critical companies with more than 100 employees at a single worksite:

  • Develop and implement a company-funded plan to reduce their employee’s Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) commuting to and from your worksite.  
  • Achieve a 75% SOV drive rate “goal’ by July of 2023 and 60% by 2025.
  • Identify or hire an ETRP Transportation Coordinator
  • Develop a baseline of the current SOV rates that will include commuting practices, vehicle type and other data
  • Report periodically on progress towards and sustainability of the achievement of the goal 

The Commission, according to its formal Economic Impact Analysis, estimates that, conservatively, the cost per employer to implement ETRP will range from $7,200 – $811,643 annually.  The NCLA acknowledges the contributions of the transportation sector to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the need to reduce such emissions in its pre-hearing statement.  However, the NCLA argues the ETRP proposal and the SOV drive rate targets in particular, is not cost effective.

“The Commission substantially overstates the program’s emission reductions in its Economic Impact Analysis and fails to account for several costs that employers will incur,” the NCLA argues in its statement.  “The proposed ETRP rule, consequently, costs far more per ton of emissions reduced than other Commission regulations.”

The NCLA, jointly with the Business Alliance for Economically Sensible Regulation, provides policy arguments for removing the numeric SOV drive rate targets from the ETRP program. 

“The recent passage of Senate Bill 21-260 coupled with employers that are already expanding remote work opportunities in response to the market need will have a greater impact upon reducing GHG emissions than the harmful and overreaching provisions of the mandatory ETRP proposal,” said Ann Hutchison, President & CEO of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce and formal party to the rule making representing the NCLA.

Additionally, in its statement, the NCLA is calling for a voluntary or incentive-based program that allows employers to take reasonable and customized actions to reduce SOV driving and is preferable to a mandatory program. This could include programs that involve employers providing free transit passes to all employees.

“A mandatory ETRP will have adverse effects on disproportionately impacted communities, many of which are in Weld and Larimer Counties”, said Sandra Hagen Solin, head of the NCLA and formal party on behalf BAERS.  “Combine that with the compounding burden of ETRP on female employees emerging from the She-Cession, the unique harm of the pandemic to women, and it begs the question why the state would propose such a program.”

Encouraging Businesses to Engage

The NCLA will continue to follow the proposed ETRP. Information on how businesses can engage and updates can be found here.  To submit written public comments, email tcdphe.aqcc-comments@state.co.us.

A public comment sign up option during the ETRP rulemaking hearing is scheduled for August 18.

The hearing will be held online only; there will be no in-person participation. Details related to participation and registration can be found at: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/aqcc

NOTE: The public comment session may end early if all commenters that are registered and in attendance before 6:30 have had an opportunity to speak prior to 7:30

About the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA)

The NCLA is the joint public policy advocacy arm of the Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland Chambers of Commerce, Upstate Colorado Economic Development Corporation and One NoCo.  The NCLA is the leading voice in northern Colorado influencing local, state and federal policy on issues affecting the unique business interests of northern Colorado.

NCLA’s mission is to unite and empower the members of the northern Colorado chambers of commerce, Upstate Colorado and OneNoCo with the means to generate a strong voice for positive impact on state and federal policy, regulations, and legislation that affect business’ ability to succeed and to help create a more positive business climate for the future of northern Colorado business. Visit ncla.biz.

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