Dear Council members
In November Boulder voters passed the Climate Action tax that, among other things, would support an ebike voucher program.
Given the high cost of ebikes, voucher programs are incredibly popular. The best known is Denver. In the Denver 2022 program, 4,734 e-bike rebates were redeemed, and 2,330 of the rebates went to income-qualified residents. Many other cities are implementing or planning programs this year. Even Louisville and Lafayette plan to release a program in April.
Community Cycles has been working with Transportation and Climate Initiatives staff to get the Boulder program released no later than May. We are happy to report they have taken the urgency of this deadline seriously and work has begun. I feel fairly confident we will meet a May deadline for a pilot program that will release a portion of the funding for vouchers this year, with more funding added in subsequent years.
City staff and the project team are looking at best practices for these types of programs and are conducting a focus group with bike shops in Boulder. This study will determine any issues with implementation and how we can formulate an equitable program that catches the public’s imagination. Flexibility will be built into the program so that any issues that arise in the pilot can be addressed in the full program rollout.
Community Cycles appreciates Council’s eagerness to see this program rolled out by May. We share that eagerness and ask Council to trust the team’s work in putting this together for a May rollout, being mindful that if Council decides to tinker around the edges of what will be proposed, it will very likely push back the start of this program. Community Cycles sees any delay of the May launch as a serious setback to this program considering our experience with how summer and Walk and Bike Month are such an important part of messaging and outreach around getting more people on bikes. Any delay would mean we lose a year. Please trust the teams’ work for the pilot program, knowing that we will thoroughly evaluate the pilot and there will be ample opportunities for tweaks in the program in the ensuing year.
On a similar note, Community Cycles has been awarded a second CanDo Colorado grant from the CO Energy Office. The last grant gave 50 ebikes to low income essential workers in Boulder. This grant will give 60 ebikes to low income workers from BCH. CU, BVSD Paraprofessionals Union, and Downtown Retail and Restaurant workers. The city Transportation Department is providing the required 10% ($13,000) match.
Thank you so much.