Pitkin County takes the first steps toward an RTA | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County takes the first steps toward an RTA

Allyn Harvey

The first baby steps toward forming the voter-mandated valleywide transportation district were taken by the Pitkin County Commissioners this week.

The board appointed Commissioner Leslie Lamont as the county’s interim representative to the RTA board of directors.

The RTA, otherwise known as a Rural Transportation Authority, will take over the funding and operation of bus service throughout the valley from RFTA, the valley’s existing bus agency, during the next 18 months.

But before that happens, the new transportation authority needs a governing body made up of elected officials seated and operating. Lamont, whose service as a county commissioner ends this year, was chosen to represent Pitkin County at a Nov. 30 meeting of the RTA’s board of directors because she has been the county’s RTA liaison for the last year.

“We chose her for consistency,” said Commissioner Dorothea Farris.

Lamont will be replaced at the beginning of next year, shortly after the new board and her replacement Jack Hatfield are seated.

Voters in seven jurisdictions – Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Snowmass Village and unincorporated portions of Pitkin and Eagle counties – authorized formation of the RTA in the election earlier this month. Voters in the unincorporated portions of Garfield County that lie in the Roaring Fork Valley did not participate in the RTA election because two Garfield County commissioners, Larry McCown and John Martin, opposed the idea and declined to let voters decide.

The RTA will eventually be named RFTA – the Roaring Fork Transit Authority – and will offer expanded bus service throughout the valley, paid for with new sales taxes from Glenwood, Carbondale and Basalt and with existing taxes in Pitkin County and Eagle County.

Once the RTA board is seated, its first task will be to assign members to serve as treasurer and fiscal agent, develop bylaws and assemble transition and implementation teams. After that, according to a memo from RTA coordinator Alice Hubbard, the board members will need to come up with a transition plan, with time lines and a decision-making process.

The board will also need to develop and adopt a preliminary RTA budget before Jan. 1. The first official RTA meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Nov. 30 at Carbondale Town Hall. For more information, call Hubbard at 963-9012.

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