CU South annexation; climate and transportation; health care

Nick Lenssen: CU South: Not a good neighbor

Subject: CU South June 2 Guest Commentary by Patrick O’Rourke: The opening paragraph of the comment accused recent opinion articles (including those of former councilors) of “misinformation, exaggeration and inaccuracies”. However, Mr. O’Rourke gave no specific example.

Mr. O’Rourke was to attend a public meeting with opponents of the annexation of the CU South to respond to public questions and to discuss the pros and cons of an early annexation of the CU South.

I am writing an “early” annexation – because even Mr O’Rourke’s comment says that there is no short term plan for the development of CU South. Why is CU pushing for annexation now? Because she wants city services to be extended to the property in order to be able to develop the property as desired in the future. But why now? Well, CU knows Boulder is desperately seeking flood control measures south of US 36 – and CU is using this as a stick against the City of Boulder. In fact, CU says “no annexation, no flood protection”. In reality, flood control could continue immediately and annexation postponed until CU submits a complete plan for the property. However, CU has refused to take this approach for years.

Mr. O’Rourke writes that after the annexation the city will be able to review and comment on any future development of the plan. This promise is meaningless: given the status of CU as a “sovereign state authority”, it can do whatever it wants with the property. The City of Boulder retains no veto power (as any private entity would) over CU’s development plans once annexed. CU’s offer to “review and comment on” plans doesn’t even mean that CU has to read or even consider all of the city’s comments. Indeed, the annexation statement proposed by CU clearly adds “But no veto”, so Mr O’Rourke’s offer to have “reviewed and commented” is clearly insincere. Once the annexation is complete, the CU will have carte blanche to proceed as it wishes.

A good neighbor would not take flood control measures for the downstream residents of South Boulder Creek who are bound to be annexed like CU does. A good neighbor would solve this problem as soon as possible and not hold the townspeople hostage for annexation first.

Nick Lenssen


Audrey DeBarros: Transportation: Substantial funding is ongoing

Although only five months have passed since a new federal administration took office, there are significant and historic funding opportunities for the transport sector. Bills on subsidy and climate protection policy have been passed at federal and state level, which will influence and improve traffic in the north-west region. We owe our thanks to our members of Congress, Governor Jared Polis, and the state lawmakers who have bravely stood up for climate change and multimodal transportation.

The recently passed Senate Act SB 21-238 will create a Front Range Passenger Rail District. This bill would create a regional district that would have to work with the Regional Transportation District (RTD). This would ensure networking in the northwest region.

House Bill HB 21-1186 will allow RTD more flexibility to lower tariffs and take advantage of new revenue streams. The bill removed the requirement that RTD must cover 30% of operating costs through fare revenue, and allows RTD to lower fares to increase passenger numbers, develop districts for retail, commercial or residential use, and work with nonprofits and local ones Governments to sign contracts to reduce operating costs.

Eventually, the Senate and House of Representatives passed SB 21-260, a $ 5.3 billion transportation bill to repair roads and bridges, improve transportation options, meet state climate goals, and future-proof the state transportation system . This bill will spur Colorado’s economic comeback, create a sustainable source of funding for road improvement, invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and expand multimodal and transit options to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

This is an important step in the right direction for climate and multimodal transport! Commuting Solutions is ready to meet the regional mobility and commuting needs of businesses and our communities through ongoing collaboration and partnerships to implement these transformative opportunities.

Audrey DeBarros

Managing Director of Commuter Solutions


Callie Rennison: Healthcare: There’s more to be done

The US $ 1.9 trillion bailout plan and its provisions expanding the Affordable Care Act and its marketplaces provide much-needed relief from soaring health insurance premiums. Last year, as the pandemic made affordable health insurance a necessity, the efforts of the American Rescue Plan to bring better access and affordability to many consumers in the market should be welcomed.

But there is still more to be done. While the American Rescue Plan goes a long way toward affordability and accessibility, it falls short in two key areas: extending the cost savings to all Coloradans, whether their insurance is from the market or employer or elsewhere; and ensure that the cost savings for all Coloradans extend beyond health insurance premiums to other escalating expenses such as co-payments and deductibles.

Across the country, American families are drowning in premiums and cost of ownership, with 24 million Americans contributing 10% of their annual household income for one thing or the other. Personally, I’ve seen the devastating impact these costs have on families. It’s no different in Colorado. Annually, 12.1% of families pay more than 10% of annual household income in insurance premiums and 9.3% of families contribute more than 10% of annual household income to other expenses. In either case, the median spending in both categories exceeds the country as a whole.

Now is the time for our leaders to implement sensible reforms to cut costs and ensure that health insurance is good quality, accessible and affordable.

Callie Rennison


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