Rail salvage rethink | AspenTimes.com

Rail salvage rethink

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority Board has crafted policies for the rail corridor that protect its open space, preserve it for future rail or transit service, and facilitate the completion of a regional trail. Protecting the open space, preserving the corridor for future transit, and constructing a trail are legal and financial obligations attached to the corridor’s purchase. The board must weigh the long-term implications of each corridor decision amid numerous competing interests, financial considerations and legal requirements. Some believe that using the rail bed for a trail might preclude future rail service, as it has between Woody Creek and Aspen where the tracks were removed. To save time and money constructing the trail, others feel no restrictions should be placed on using the rail bed. The board has attempted to strike a balance between these opposing viewpoints. Where necessary, to avoid wetlands and other costly geographical constraints, the trail can be built on the rail bed. Otherwise, the trail must be constructed off of the rail bed, because the cost of relocating large segments of trail to make room for a future transit system could be prohibitive.Given the dynamics, it isn’t easy to make everyone happy, especially when one wrong decision could foreclose vital options for generations to come. In order to make the best decisions possible, however, the board listens intently to the public. Based upon concerns expressed recently, the board will review the rail salvage matter at its Aug. 12 meeting.Dan BlankenshipCEORoaring Fork Transportation Authority

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