Denver Councilwoman Raises Concerns About Proposed RTD Board Changes
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Denver Councilwoman Raises Concerns About Proposed RTD Board Changes

Denver City Councilwoman Shontel Lewis has voiced worries about a new bill being crafted in the state Legislature that aims to alter the RTD board. Lewis expressed her concerns ahead of a Monday council meeting.

The proposed bill, which is still being developed and currently without a name, seeks to decrease the number of RTD board members. Additionally, it would mandate that two of these members be chosen by the governor. Lewis fears this could create division among transit users and policymakers by eliminating the district-based elections that determine board membership.

Spearheaded by Sen. Faith Winter and Representatives William Lindstedt and Meg Froelich, all Democrats, the bill proposes reducing the RTD governing board from 15 elected members to seven voting directors. Among these, two would be selected by the governor and ratified by the state Senate.

Despite the bill still being in its early stages, Lewis and her team felt compelled to respond promptly to the draft legislation. They acknowledged the challenging timing of their news release, given Sen. Winter’s recent entry into rehab, but emphasized the need for timely engagement.

Both Representatives Lindstedt and Froelich emphasized that discussions on the bill are ongoing and that it could undergo changes as it progresses through the legislative process. They stressed their commitment to collaborating with stakeholders to enhance the efficiency of RTD.

Lewis, having served as an elected director for District B, which encompasses neighborhoods like Park Hill and Green Valley Ranch, questions whether state legislature oversight is suitable for RTD. She highlights that a significant portion of RTD’s operational budget is directly funded by local taxpayers, with only a small fraction coming from the state.

In her release, Lewis points out that the proposed at-large representation could potentially silence the voices of marginalized communities, emphasizing the importance of equitable representation within RTD governance.

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