5 stories to watch in 2024

What we'll be following for (and probably writing about) next year


1.) Boulder County’s transportation future

With the recent big announcement about the long-pined for Front Range passenger rail, transportation is getting some traction and attention. But the train is still years away; our habits and needs (not to mention our climate) are changing now.

There’s been a lot of action on transportation these last couple years: Boulder County extending its (bare minimum maintenance) sales tax, the City of Boulder shifting its attention to its most dangerous main roads (which should be aided greatly by the $23 million USDOT is giving us) and of course the rapid adoption of electric vehicles, including e-bikes, helped along by government subsidies, and the popularity and expansion of shareable e-scooters. 

This is all great news, but we can’t help but wonder: Is our infrastructure set up for this? Throwing even more and faster devices (however welcome) into the same small, shared spaces with regular ol’ bikes and pedestrians seems like, eventually, a recipe for disaster.

And despite years of talk, there’s still not a solid local plan for more and better buses. And what about the growing numbers of people who need more than just the standard mass transit due to mobility issues? 

Hopefully, we will find some answers this year — or at least some new ideas.

2.) Longmont looms large

While Boulder’s population has been in a five-year decline, Longmont’s keeps expanding, surpassing 100,000 in 2022 (much to the displeasure of some residents). Will 2024 be the year Longmont finally surpasses the People’s Republic as Boulder County’s biggest city? 

Regardless, Longmont’s impact is growing. Our reporting from the past few months alone shows that: story after story about bands, authors, restaurants and local businesses keep popping up.

Longtucky, who?

3.) Public health funding cut (and county spending generally)

Boulder County Commissioners voted this month to slash public health spending by 18% (about $1.5 million) despite the multiple crises our community is experiencing: addiction and mental health top the list, but the health department also deals with child and family welfare. Domestic violence deaths are at an all-time high in Colorado; economic strain can be a factor in abuse, according to experts. 

County finance experts cited a projected budget deficit as justification for the cuts, even as revenue from property taxes — the County’s main source of funding — climbs. We wish we could say we’d figured this one out for you, but we’re still wrapping our heads around it. Look for more in-depth reporting this year.  

4.) Regional collaboration

A five-city consortium — Longmont, Boulder, Louisville, Lafayette and Erie — should have a plan to raise minimum wages later this year. We hope those relationships between elected officials and city staff, formed over many months, will be used to tackle some of our community’s other big problems: housing, homelessness and mental health chief among them. 

These are issues that cross borders and demand collaborative solutions. It’s past time for elected officials to work together. 

5.) 2024 presidential election

We probably won’t be writing much about this. But we will be watching — nervously.


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