Council calls for study on Entrance | AspenTimes.com
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Council calls for study on Entrance

Kimberly Nicoletti

When it comes to the Entrance to Aspen, you’re either on the bus or off the bus. The City Council decided it’s on the bus at Tuesday’s work session.The council will ask the Elected Officials Transportation Committee for $200,000 to re-evaluate the 1997 Entrance to Aspen environmental impact study at a Feb. 2 meeting in council chambers. The Federal Highway Administration and the Colorado Department of Transportation said the 1997 study is outdated. They won’t proceed with design and construction of any of the proposed alternatives from the old study until it’s re-evaluated.The City Council also considered asking the federal government what it would take to move forward without a re-evaluation. But council decided to go with the feds’ request.Mayor Pro Tem Torre wanted to see if other options emerged and if a light-rail transit system is an adequate solution. Mayor Helen Klanderud expressed concern that if the city tried to move forward without a re-evaluation, the community might view it as pushing an agenda, which is not the message the city wants to send.Rather, the city plans to start a new environmental impact study while gathering community input.An initial study would re-examine demographics and set up a series of questions that a final study could answer. It’s likely that a final study could cost $1 million to $1.5 million, though it’s unknown whether that would be necessary after re-evaluation, said Assistant City Manager Randy Ready. Councilwoman Rachel Richards pointed out that the City Council should be willing to support funding for the final study if it decided to support the initial study.If a review of the original study shows the proposed changes are still viable, Ready estimated that the highway construction would cost about $60 million and light rail would cost about $110 million to $120 million.Kimberly Nicoletti’s e-mail address is knicoletti@aspentimes.com


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