The U.S. Congress has a chance this summer time to grab an unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime alternative to “construct again higher” from the pandemic.
Colorado U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper and our Colorado delegation within the Home of Representatives ought to all vote sure on and champion an infrastructure invoice and price range reconciliation invoice that middle investments in a nationwide clear vitality economic system whereas additionally battling local weather change and ending environmental injustice. Collectively, these two payments are the jolt wanted to jump-start Colorado and our nation into a brand new, post-pandemic economic system.
We should see formidable motion on local weather and investments as a result of these will result in a extra vibrant, extra equitable economic system and finish the financial upheaval that impacts the communities on the entrance strains of local weather disasters.
I personally know that we are able to construct again higher by stubbornly specializing in creating a clear vitality economic system as a result of we now have been right here earlier than, we now have seen it occur in Colorado, and we proceed to reap the advantages.
I turned governor simply over 14 years in the past, having run partially on the promise to construct a New Vitality Economic system. The work we did from 2007 to 2010 — tripling the state’s renewable portfolio normal, recruiting clear tech companies and passing dozens of payments designed to incentivize new methods to offer energy — laid the groundwork for Colorado to grow to be a mannequin for others to observe.
Then we had been hit by the Nice Recession. From late 2008 into 2009, because the economic system spiraled deeper into recession, we scrambled to stabilize Colorado’s price range and economic system, not figuring out the place the underside was or once we would hit it. On the identical time, we had been working with the incoming Obama administration to develop a rescue package deal that will stabilize the nation’s economic system and set the state for development.
When President Obama, with then-Vice President Joe Biden at his facet, signed the American Restoration and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on Feb. 17, 2009 — after touring the photo voltaic panels on the museum’s roof — we knew that brighter days had been forward.
ARRA included critically essential investments in transportation, airports, broadband, water programs, housing, schooling and analysis amenities. It additionally included billions for vitality effectivity and renewable vitality, different fuels and gasoline cells.
Mixed with continued motion right here in Colorado — a complete of 57 New Vitality Economic system associated payments had been signed into legislation throughout my service as governor — ARRA helped lead us to the place we’re at the moment: sturdy and dependable wind and photo voltaic powering our properties and companies, tens of 1000’s of Coloradans working in clear tech industries, taking significant motion on decarbonization, exhibiting the world what could be completed and the way.
Colorado’s dedication to electrical automobiles, constructing electrification, renewable vitality jobs and decarbonization stays a mannequin for different states.
This summer time and fall, our members of Congress ought to prioritize the event of a 100% clean-energy normal within the electrical energy sector; the manufacture and sale of zero-emitting vehicles, buses and buildings by 2035; justice and fairness for low-income communities and communities of colour by guaranteeing not less than 40% of funding advantages go to those communities; and creating good paying, family-sustaining, unionized jobs.
The great thing about these proposals is that they tackle myriad challenges without delay — the local weather disaster, financial alternative for all, the necessity to strengthen the center class, a protracted overdue overhaul of our infrastructure, and the necessity to place America for international management as soon as once more.
Within the wake of the Nice Recession, Colorado confirmed the nation what was doable with the right combination of sound coverage concepts, non-public sector innovation, bipartisan dedication, and federal authorities funding.
Within the wake of COVID-19, we are able to “construct again higher” on the muse we laid a dozen years in the past. We have now a accomplice within the White Home and wish supporters in Congress who share our state’s dedication to reworking our economic system in a forward-looking and equitable means.
Invoice Ritter, Jr. served as Colorado governor 2007-2011. He’s now director of the Middle for the New Vitality Economic system at Colorado State College.