The Pitkin Board of County Commissioners will make its first exemption to the Governmental Renewable Energy Mitigation Program and refund the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority $205,000 for fees paid by RFTA towards the construction of the snow melt systems as part of the Veloci RFTA bus rapid transit stations.
Because the snow melt systems provide a public service concerning a public safety issue at the bus stations, the board agreed to refund RFTA all of the costs to install the systems.
The board has the option to reduce fees partially or fully and chose to waive the entire amount.
According to Mike Hermes, RFTA facilities director, RFTA looked at many alternatives to make the bus platforms as safe as possible in icy conditions and electronic snow melt systems made the most sense.
Hermes said the safer the bus stations are, the more people will be encouraged to use RFTA and reduce gas and CO2 emissions.
According to Hermes, RFTA paid its rent fees up front and Pitkin County put the money into a bond fund until the snow melt issue was settled.
“The funds came from the Federal Transit Administration Grant for Very Small Starts in the bus rapid transit program,” Hermes said. “So the $200,000 will go back into the bus rapid transit program and RFTA can spend the money on enhancements to the bus stops or something else we need.”
The approval by the board won’t be official until the issue is put in front of the public as a Consent to Action reading at the March 12 regular commissioner’s meeting.