Keep rail options open | AspenTimes.com

Keep rail options open

Dear Editor,Why is Hooner Gillespie in such a hurry to see the RFTA rails torn up and sold? (See “Time for a trail” letter, Feb. 1) Could it be that he wants to put an end to any future rail projects in the Glenwood Springs-to-Aspen corridor?In several recent letters to the editor he’s touted the benefits of using the rail corridor strictly for trails, while denigrating supporters of eventual passenger rail service as nostalgia-fixated hobbyists.RFTA rail service may indeed be economically unfeasible at this time, but what about 20 years from now when gasoline costs $5 a gallon? Shouldn’t we keep our options open as long as possible in order to preserve the viability of this potentially priceless transportation corridor that was purchased with all of our tax dollars?Hooner and friends have suggested that RFTA rail service could cost $800 million to build, equip and operate over a 30-year period. But how many millions have been spent during the past decade on widening Highway 82? And what will it cost over the next several decades to complete that work and maintain the road (not to mention the many millions of dollars we’ll all spend to buy, fuel, maintain, and replace the cars and trucks used on that route)?Trails and rails supporters should be working together to promote sustainable transit options for the valley. The corridor has plenty of room for both.Squabbling over the marginal salvage value of RFTA’s rails only serves the interests of the oil and auto industries, and adjacent property owners who don’t want to see either rails or trails in their back yards.Russ ArensmanGlenwood Springs


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