Locals picked as transportation advisors | AspenTimes.com

Locals picked as transportation advisors

DENVER ” Two local transportation advocates ” Mick Ireland and Dan Blankenship ” were tapped this week to advise the governor on transportation.

Ireland, an Aspen mayoral candidate and former Pitkin County commissioner, was named as a panel member on the newly formed Colorado Transportation Finance and Implementation Panel.

Blankenship, CEO of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, will be on the technical advisory subcommittee that will work with panel members on strategies for overcoming various challenges in transportation development.

The panel was filled out Monday with an executive order from Gov. Bill Ritter that identified members. Its mission is to help his office and the Colorado Department of Transportation identify needs and set priorities for transportation funding.

“The panel will enable us to determine project priorities and identify strategies to fund those projects,” Ritter’s executive order states. “The panel will evaluate current spending practices; assess the transportation fiscal structure, funding and priority-setting processes; and propose new funding mechanisms and priorities for existing and future projects.”

Ireland has long represented the Roaring Fork Valley on regional transportation boards. He spent 10 of his 13 years as county commissioner representing the central mountain region on the state Transportation Advisory Committee, and he played a role in securing funding for the Maroon Creek roundabout and the new Maroon Creek Bridge.

Blankenship is the longtime director of the state’s second largest public transportation system.

The two men have worked closely together for a number of years on Roaring Fork Valley Transportation issues.

There will be a statewide summit on transportation April 5 in Denver. The panel will also hold regional meetings around the state over the spring and summer. It will submit a final report recommending project priorities and funding strategies in November.

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