by Maya Gurarie
The newly formed Northwest Chamber Alliance gathered on Wednesday, April 6, to speak with Gov. Hickenlooper and state legislators about transportation priorities. Chambers of Commerce from Longmont, Boulder and Broomfield as well as other regional leaders participated in the event at the State Capitol. The alliance represents 2,400 businesses including 100,000 employees, with an open invitation for other chambers of commerce in the region to join.
“When business interests are at the table, we can apply the creative energy from innovative enterprises to effective transportation solutions for our region. Further, if we’re involved at the front end in representing those business interests, we can be more effective in helping to implement those solutions,” said John Tayer, CEO and President of the Boulder Chamber.
Gov. Hickenlooper met with approximately 28 members and supporters of the Northwest Chamber Alliance. He answered questions about transportation funding, education, health care coverage and reducing environmental pollution. Historically, leaders in Longmont, Boulder and Broomfield have advocated for more transportation funding for initiatives such as commuter rail and Bus Rapid Transit.
“The hospital provider fee is the most promising solution to getting funding in transportation. We’re looking at local funding and state funding and to get our fair share of federal money,” Gov. Hickenlooper said.
Recent gains in regional transportation improvements include the completion of the US 36 Express Lanes Project, the launch of Bus Rapid Transit service and the opening of the 18-mile US 36 Bikeway from Boulder to Westminster. Ridership on the Flatiron Flyer has increased by 45 percent in six months.
President and CEO of the Longmont Chamber Bruce Partain and President and CEO of the Broomfield Chamber Jennifer Kerr were present during the Day at the Capitol event on behalf of the Northwest Chamber Alliance as well as local elected officials including Boulder mayor Suzanne Jones and Longmont City Councilmember Joan Peck. 36 Commuting Solutions Executive Director Audrey DeBarros attended the event as well.
During a discussion with the Northwest Chamber Alliance, State House Rep. Jonathan Singer and State Sen. Matt Jones engaged with the coalition and pledged their support for partnership in seeking regional transportation solutions.
“We’re underfunding transportation, capitol development, K-12 and higher education… It seems like we’re funding a lot more than we get back, especially in Boulder,” said Rep. KC Becker.
Tayer closed out the inaugural visit to the State Capitol by the coalition with some parting words.
“I’m so excited about what we can achieve collectively as the Northwest Chamber Alliance. Our focus is on transportation and these initiatives will be more successful if we work together,” Tayer said.