RFTA to add vehicle registration fee | AspenTimes.com

RFTA to add vehicle registration fee

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

As part of its effort to bring in more revenue, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority board of directors on Thursday agreed to implement a $10 fee on motor vehicle registrations in most of its service area.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2003, the $10 fee will be imposed on annual vehicle registrations for people who live in Pitkin County, the Roaring Fork Valley portion of Eagle County, the town of Carbondale and the city of Glenwood Springs.

Those geographic areas are consistent with the counties and towns that are members of the regional RFTA organization.

The fee is expected to generate between $350,000 and $400,000 for the transportation authority.

The measure was passed with little discussion at RFTA’s board meeting on Thursday. A staff summary of the item noted that “the financial outlook for 2003 is not encouraging and it has become apparent that additional sources of revenue are required to retain the service schedule for bus transit.”

It is possible that the Garfield County commissioners could also decide to impose the $10 fee throughout Garfield County, even though the county is not a formal member of the regional transportation authority.

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RFTA has the ability to impose the fee based on state legislation that recognizes that more people riding mass transit means less congestion on state highways.

The RFTA board on Thursday also agreed to implement a $1 fare for riders between Aspen and the Pitkin County airport. Today, that segment of the bus system is free of charge. The $1 fare is expected to generate $30,000 a year.

RFTA board representatives from Aspen and Pitkin County were not pleased by the board’s decision and said they would attempt to find another source of funding in order to keep that segment of the bus system free of charge.

The board declined to support at this time another measure that has the potential to bring in $30,000 to RFTA’s $14 million annual budget ? advertising on the side of RFTA buses.

“I don’t know that we want moving billboards up and down the valley,” said board member and Aspen Mayor Helen Klanderud.

She said that the valley has done a good job of keeping billboards off the highway and that large signs on the sides of buses might violate the city of Aspen’s sign code.

Pitkin County Commissioner Dorothea Farris said before the RFTA board agreed to exterior bus advertising, it would have to develop a policy on what types of ads it would take.

“Alcohol, tobacco and firearms,” quipped board member Jonathan Fox Rubin of Basalt.

[Brent Gardner-Smith’s e-mail address is bgs@aspentimes.com]