Rail or bus: Time to choose | AspenTimes.com

Rail or bus: Time to choose

Aspen Times Staff Report

Four local task forces will begin work this week on final recommendations about whether to build a train or expand bus service to deal with the valley’s commuting woes.The groups have been considering transportation issues for nearly two years. Their recommendations so far have helped the Roaring Fork Railroad Holding Authority reduce the number of options down to two. One is a commuter train that follows the old Denver & Rio Grande Western right of way from Glenwood to Gerbazdale, and then Highway 82 into Aspen; the other is expanded bus service, with more express routes and local feeder service in each community along the highway.Starting tonight, the task forces will have the operation and maintenance cost estimates for both alternatives in hand. Combined with capital construction cost estimates and anticipated ridership numbers, they should be able to make final recommendations to the holding authority by Oct. 1.Once a “locally preferred alternative” is decided – the final choice will be made by the holding authority’s board of directors – work will begin on how to manage it and how to pay for it.The downvalley task force will gather at 5:30 p.m. tonight in the RE-1 Administration Building in Glenwood Springs, on the corner of 14th Street and Grand Avenue; the midvalley task force will meet at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Basalt Town Hall.The upper valley task force will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Sister Cities room in Aspen City Hall; and the Carbondale task force will meet at 6 p.m. in Carbondale Town Hall.

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