Driveway charges could be delayed |

Driveway charges could be delayed

Allyn Harvey

There may be some relief – at least temporary – on the horizon for some of the people who live along the rail corridor between Glenwood Springs and Woody Creek.

Residents who access their property on driveways that cross the railroad right of way were informed by mail last month that they would soon have to start paying about $300 a year in rent for the access. The letters were a surprise to several landowners, as were some of the terms in the accompanying contract specifying the rights of individual property owners and the Roaring Fork Railroad Holding Authority, the public agency that owns the right of way.

But the final decision about the contracts may now be be delayed until after the election, said Roaring Fork Railroad Holding Authority director Tom Newland.

“I don’t know who is ultimately going to be responsible for managing and funding the rail corridor, so I’m recommending that the holding authority board delay its decision until after the election,” he said. The next holding authority board meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 18 at Carbondale Town Hall.

Maintenance and trail development along the moribund rail corridor is currently paid for with contributions from seven different jurisdictions in the Roaring Fork Valley. About half of the 100 or so people that use the right of way for access or other private purposes pay some rent for the right; the others pay nothing. The $14,000 or so currently raised through access leases is used to pay for maintenance, he said.

If voters approve a proposal to form a Rural Transportation Authority in next month’s election, the holding authority will cease to exist as an independent public agency, its functions and responsibilities taken over by the RTA.

Newland said the RTA board may have different ideas about what, if anything, to charge for access across the right of way, which is why he’s recommending the delay.

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