RTA poll: Vote will be close | AspenTimes.com

RTA poll: Vote will be close

The people lobbying for voter approval of a rural transportation authority this fall admitted Thursday that a poll they recently conducted shows they have their work cut out for them.

“It looks to us that it’s going to be a competitive election,” said Randy Udall, co-chair and spokesman of a group called Valley Moves!

“It’s ahead in certain jurisdictions and running neck and neck in others.”

The group, which includes several elected officials, is collecting funds and plotting campaign strategy to try to get voters from Aspen to Glenwood Springs to approve permanent funding for a valleywide bus system.

One of the first moves by the special-interest group was to commission a $5,000 telephone poll by a Denver company. The results will play a major role in shaping the campaign strategy of Valley Moves! over the next 40 days, Udall said.

The group refused to release the poll results. The steering committee doesn’t want RTA opponent Jeffrey Evans and his Common Sense Alliance to benefit from it.

Udall denied that the group’s refusal to release the results indicates the poll produced bad news for the bus proponents.

“I don’t think there were any negative surprises in this,” Udall said. “The lower valley is going to be the competitive place.

“We knew we had work to do in Carbondale. We knew we had work to do in Glenwood.”

He indicated that not even Aspen’s support is guaranteed. He said Valley Moves! members were “pleased” to learn that Basalt and midvalley residents expressed the strongest support for the RTA.

Voters in five towns and two counties of the Roaring Fork Valley will decide in the November election whether they want to approve taxes to provide permanent funding for the enhanced bus system. The Garfield County commissioners declined to place the question on their ballot.

Valley Moves! commissioned a poll that surveyed hundreds of residents spread across the proposed district. The poll was completed about 10 days ago, and results became available four days ago, said Udall.

The group’s steering committee is determining how and where to buy media advertisements and other intricacies of the campaign based on the poll results.

The Common Sense Alliance has a jump on RTA backers. CSA is already running full-page ads attacking the proposed RTA as an unnecessary and inefficient expenditure.

Udall said Valley Moves! will fight back with ads and a campaign theme that portray the transportation district as a key to preserving quality of life.

The poll showed that nearly all respondents are concerned about growth and changes in the valley, he said.

“For us to win the RTA fight, we have to make the connection that it’s part of the future, it’s worth it,” Udall said.

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