I-70 group takes up air travel, funding
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY ” Potential improvements to air transportation and overall funding issues are on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting of the I-70 mountain corridor coalition in Granby.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is considering funding for new radar technology that could boost capacity at West Slope airports like Eagle, said coaliton director Flo Raitano, explaining that a staffer from CDOT’s aeronautics division will be on hand to give an update.
The coalition, formed to help define a long-term solution for I-70 corridor transportation, is on record as supporting a multi-modal approach that includes air transportation.
Raitano said another key agenda item is related to overall funding issues, not just for I-70, but for all of Colorado.
“As a state, we’ve dug ourselves a $140 billion hole,” Raitano said. Recent talks at a transportation blue ribbon panel convened by Gov. Bill Ritter have eyed new long-term funding mechanisms, including a variety of taxes.
Participants in those meetings, including Frisco town manager and coalitions chair Michael Penny, as well as County Commissioner Bob French, have said that a combination of highway user fees and other financing mechanisms will be needed to dig the state out of its transportation hole.
Raitano said that some coalition members have also begun discussions on how land use and development patterns in Colorado are related to transportation issues.
“They’re talking about treating the symptom rather than the disease,” Raitano said, singling out newly elected Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland for raising the point that exurban and suburban sprawl will continue to create new transportation challenges.
The coalition will also discuss a recently released report on the fiscal impacts of I-70 congestion.
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Don’t freak out if you see helicopters hovering over the Roaring Fork Valley backcountry or fixed-wing aircraft making repeated trips. It is part an annual wildlife study by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.