Dear Editor:I was proud of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) board last year when, after extensive and thoughtful discussion, they decided that preserving the steel rails on the old Denver and Rio Grande Western Rail Road corridor, even while advancing construction of a valley trail, is important to the future of a truly comprehensive transportation system here.I was proud of them last month, when they affirmed that decision by rejecting phony overtures from a flim-flam company offering to rip up the rails and supposedly pay for them. (Actually, with legal fees, survey costs, and trespassing problems, RFTA would very likely end up paying more than it would receive.)I am now proud of the RFTA board, in advance, anticipating that they will again decide at their meeting this Thursday to stop wasting time and money chasing the so-called “rail salvage” diversion and instead concentrate on the productive work of operating and expanding transit services.A shaky proposal from fly-by-night A&K Salvage Co., the same outfit that, through lawyers’ gimmicks and bureaucratic trickery, once tried to steal the rail corridor itself just to rip up the rails, is an attempt to drive a spike through the creative and fair rail-with-trail compromise that RFTA worked out last year.The predictable result is that some single-minded trail boosters are falling for these hucksters’ line, and for the false notion of something-for-nothing that it embodies, and are clamoring for destruction of the rail bed.The RFTA board should respectfully but firmly ignore those pleadings, stay the course on their rail corridor policy and trails policies, and not spend another minute considering, let alone chasing, salvage phantoms.Steve SmithGlenwood Springs
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It might be public service serving on Aspen City Council but it doesn’t pay enough, the majority of electeds say. That’s why they are proposing to give their successors a $12,000 raise.