The U.S. Congress has a possibility this summer season 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 finances reconciliation invoice that heart investments in a nationwide clear vitality financial 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 financial system.
We should see formidable motion on local weather and investments as a result of these will result in a extra vibrant, extra equitable financial system and finish the financial upheaval that impacts the communities on the entrance traces of local weather disasters.
I personally know that we will construct again higher by stubbornly specializing in creating a clear vitality financial system as a result of we’ve got been right here earlier than, we’ve got seen it occur in Colorado, and we proceed to reap the advantages.
I grew to become governor simply over 14 years in the past, having run partly on the promise to construct a New Power Financial 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 develop into a mannequin for others to comply with.
Then we had been hit by the Nice Recession. From late 2008 into 2009, because the financial system spiraled deeper into recession, we scrambled to stabilize Colorado’s finances and financial system, not realizing 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 might stabilize the nation’s financial 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 techniques, housing, training and analysis amenities. It additionally included billions for vitality effectivity and renewable vitality, different fuels and gas cells.
Mixed with continued motion right here in Colorado — a complete of 57 New Power Financial system associated payments had been signed into legislation throughout my service as governor — ARRA helped lead us to the place we’re as we speak: strong and dependable wind and photo voltaic powering our houses and companies, tens of 1000’s of Coloradans working in clear tech industries, taking significant motion on decarbonization, exhibiting the world what might be performed and the way.
Colorado’s dedication to electrical autos, constructing electrification, renewable vitality jobs and decarbonization stays a mannequin for different states.
This summer season 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 shade by making certain at the least 40% of funding advantages go to those communities; and creating good paying, family-sustaining, unionized jobs.
The fantastic 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, an extended 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 correct mix of sound coverage concepts, personal sector innovation, bipartisan dedication, and federal authorities funding.
Within the wake of COVID-19, we will “construct again higher” on the inspiration we laid a dozen years in the past. Now we have a companion within the White Home and wish supporters in Congress who share our state’s dedication to remodeling our financial system in a forward-looking and equitable method.
Invoice Ritter, Jr. served as Colorado governor 2007-2011. He’s now director of the Middle for the New Power Financial system at Colorado State College.