Regional Transportation District board members and staff on Tuesday voiced concerns in a public statement about a new Senate bill that would reform the agency’s board of directors and several key policies.
“We’re disappointed that none of our comments or recommendations were included in the bill,” said board Chair Angie Rivera-Malpiede.
Senate Bill 151 — titled the Accountability, Democracy, and Accessibility in Public Transit Act — is a wide-ranging proposal to prevent discrimination against disabled RTD customers, add two governor-appointed voting members to the board, and make the state treasurer and the executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation nonvoting members.
The board would also be required to livestream its meetings “whenever practicable” and give the state auditor direction to examine multiple facets of RTD governance, including its pension plan and organizational structure.
“At this point it has become clear that the RTD board needs additional oversight from the state government” said Rep. Colin Larson, R-Littleton, one of the bill’s sponsors. The four board appointees representing the state “will give a better balance and ensure RTD stays true to its mission.”
One of the governor’s appointees would represent RTD riders with disabilities and the other would need to have experience with “equitable transportation planning.”
“RTD is already in compliance with [Americans with Disabilities Act] laws and collaborates with the ADA community, including having two working ADA committees made up of members from the ADA community,” read the statement from the agency.
RTD also contended that it undergoes numerous other audits and already works closely with the state treasurer and CDOT. It warned that adding the two new voting members would “set precedence for other constituencies to request representation on the Board.”
The agency did agree with the section of the bill to repeal the statutory mandate that RTD take “whatever measures it deems necessary” to ensure certain farebox recovery ratios — or the percentage of operating costs that rider fares cover.
While RTD said it “had limited time” to work with the bill’s sponsors, the agency would continue to work on potential policy changes.