Protect valley’s interests |

Protect valley’s interests

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:(This letter was originally addressed to the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority board of directors.)The RFTA board should keep in mind that the majority of the funds used to purchase the right of way were for transit uses. There is a huge psychological benefit to have the rail track remain on that right-of-way while efforts continue to restore rail transit service to the Roaring Fork Valley.Perhaps a comprehensive planning process of the corridor should be undertaken so that the trail is placed in its permanent location and monies are invested for the long-term to support complementary transit and trail uses on the corridor. The transit uses for this critical corridor will only become more valuable as the valley continues to expand and more pressure is generated for mass transit alternatives to alleviate the inevitable congestion on Highway 82.The RFTA board owes it to the taxpayers to protect the best interests of the regional transit district and to not cave into political pressures exuded by trails groups to realize a short-term gain from salvaging the track at the expense of the long-term transit interests of the Roaring Fork Valley. If the track is salvaged, any generated funds will disappear in the blink of an eye.At the very least, should the RFTA board decide the salvage the track, the funds from such an operation should be earmarked for developing transit uses on the corridor, not for trails or to supplement RFTA’s currently dwindling operations budget.Lisa MarkalunasAspen

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