Roaring Fork transit wins big
ROARING FORK VALLEY ” Mass transit proponents didn’t spin their wheels in this election.
A proposal to fund expansion of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority public bus system won by a wide margin in all three counties in the valley, according to the final tally of votes available Wednesday. The proposal was posed to all voters in Pitkin County and parts of Eagle and Garfield counties.
The combined outcome was 10,485 in favor and 8,720 against, or a margin of 55 to 45 percent.
In Pitkin County, the measure won 4,713 to 3,951. Partial data indicates it won in both Aspen and Snowmass Village.
In the Roaring Fork Valley portion of Eagle County, the issue won 1,804 to 1,258. It won in both Basalt and the unincorporated areas that include the Blue Lake and Sopris Village subdivisions.
In Garfield County, the RFTA question was approved 3,968 to 3,511. It was narrowly passed by Glenwood Springs voters and overwhelmingly approved in Carbondale.
The measure allows RFTA to increase its sales tax by 0.4 percent and issue $44.55 million in bonds. RFTA will buy new buses, upgrade bus stations and parking areas, and make road improvements to speed travel times. The new revenues also will boost its operating budget, so more drivers can be hired.
The measure squeaked by in Glenwood Springs by fewer than 100 votes. The vote there was 1,906 in favor and 1,839 against.
In Carbondale, the RFTA expansion won big ” 1,354 in favor to 874 against.
The measure was defeated in New Castle 708 to 798. However, because the cumulative vote total throughout the region determined the outcome, New Castle must still implement the 0.4 percent sales tax increase.
In the Roaring Fork Valley portion of Eagle County, the measure passed in three precincts and failed in one. It passed by 633 votes to 370 in Precinct 7, which includes most of Basalt. It failed in Precinct 8, which includes the El Jebel Mobile Home Park and part of Missouri Heights, by a 153 to 163 vote.
The proposal won by comfortable margins in both Precinct 24, Sopris Village and Summit Vista, and Precinct 25, Blue Lake. The outcome was 466 to 369 in Precinct 24. The final tally was 552 to 356 in Precinct 25.
The Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office was unable Wednesday to provide precinct information that included the nearly 3,200 early votes. The partial tally provided trends but no definitive outcome for Aspen, Snowmass Village and unincorporated Pitkin County.
The RFTA measure led by a comfortable but not overwhelming margin in the city of Aspen before early votes were added. The Snowmass Village precinct favored the measure 460 to 389 without early votes.
The only places where the question was trailing was Precinct 8, which includes the Snowmass and Capitol Creek valleys, and Precinct 10, which includes Redstone and the Crystal River Valley. It’s uncertain if the early voting mix would have changed the outcome in those precincts. (Early voters throughout the county favored the RFTA expansion by a 57 to 43 percent margin.)
In a separate question, Silt voters rejected a proposal for the town to join RFTA. That question failed 409 to 591.
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Cam Daniel is a former youth addiction counselor who’s been a Pitkin County sheriff’s deputy for three years.