RFTA wants revenge on Garfield
The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority is exploring options for revenge against Garfield County for not contributing money for bus service in 2005.Upper valley representatives on RFTA’s board of directors indicated yesterday they want to react by cutting bus service. But representatives of Glenwood Springs and New Castle said their constituents shouldn’t suffer because of the Garfield County commissioners’ actions.Commissioners John Martin and Larry McCown turned down a request from RFTA this week to contribute $100,000 for bus service. Commissioner Tresi Houpt supported the donation.About 50,000 passengers ride RFTA’s Hogback bus service between Rifle and Glenwood Springs every year, according to the agency. Buses also serve the Roaring Fork Valley portion of Garfield County.Martin and McCown justified their decision by noting that citizens in unincorporated Garfield County voted against joining RFTA last November. Silt voters also opted to stay out of RFTA. New Castle voted to join. Rifle hasn’t asked its voters yet.RFTA board member Arnie Mordkin, a Snowmass Village councilman, said at a RFTA board meeting yesterday that the organization needs to reconsider where it stops in Garfield County. If some residents and the county commissioners don’t want to pay for service, they shouldn’t get service, he said.”It would seem to me we need to follow through with comments we made before the election,” Mordkin said.Aspen Mayor and RFTA board member Helen Klanderud also expressed interest in reassessing service for Garfield County.RFTA Chairwoman and Pitkin County Commissioner Dorothea Farris asked RFTA Chief Executive Officer Dan Blankenship to explore options for cutting service to areas that aren’t contributing funds. Those cuts, she noted, would have to be made “within the constraints that we have.”Board member and Glenwood Springs Councilman Dan Richardson reminded the board that a pre-election agreement required RFTA to maintain bus service throughout Garfield County for 18 months if New Castle, Silt or unincorporated Garfield County voted to join RFTA. That’s the big constraint.Mordkin said he wanted to revisit that agreement to check the wording.New Castle representative Dave Schroeder said the town was opposed to cutting service to Rifle or Silt because it would negatively affect his town.The RFTA board will discuss at its February meeting what action, if any, it can take against Garfield County.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is email@example.com.
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