Following the will of the people | AspenTimes.com

Following the will of the people

Tony, Tim and I have been loudly criticized by some for not listening to the will of the citizens because we support the modified-direct alignment for the Entrance Aspen.

In truth, we have been impeccable in honoring the stated transportation goals of our community as developed in the 2000 (current) AACP. Further, we are honoring the recommendations of two citizen’s task forces and the Environmental Impact Statement for the Entrance to Aspen.

The EIS for the Entrance to Aspen was the longest-running and most thorough EIS for a highway in Colorado history. Further, the EIS process occurred in compliance with the Council on Environmental Quality regulations, the National Environmental Policy Act, the intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, and the Clean Air Act.

In its own words, the purpose of the 2000 Aspen Area Community Plan is to “serve as a guide for the future. It is a vision, a map, and plan of action for achieving the goals and values we share. The plan considers the balance between the physical environment and the social well-being of Aspen. The plan also considers the balance and interaction between Aspen the community and Aspen the resort, the important relationship between transportation and land-use planning in the context of the natural and built environments.”

This plan has been built upon the community’s vision for itself through the work of hundreds of citizens on committees, in public meetings, through interviews and through the Internet. The topic of transportation was one of nine areas of study for the AACP.

The transportation focus committee states its philosophy to include the following: “Because of our commitment to clean air, quieter streets and enhancement of our unique community character, we support the Entrance to Aspen Record of Decision.”

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For those who may not know the details of the Record of Decision, it states that the preferred alignment for the Entrance to Aspen is the modified-direct alignment, or, as it is often called, “the straight shot.”

Please ask Helen and Terry what standards and studies they are using and why they aren’t representing the goals established by the Aspen Area Community Plan and two citizen’s task forces. Or why they support a choice that doesn’t pass federal environmental, safety and emergency access standards. A choice that doesn’t complement the unique community character identified in the Aspen Area Community Plan.

Ask them why they don’t listen to, or represent, the documented goals of their own community plan.

Then ask yourself who is and who is not listening to all the people, not simply a vocal, well-funded subset of the total.

Tom McCabe

Aspen City Councilman