Skico donates to RTA’s campaign |

Skico donates to RTA’s campaign

Allyn Harvey

The Aspen Skiing Company donated $5,000 Thursday to support the campaign to form a rural transportation authority – $4,500 to the Valley Moves! campaign and $500 to its sister, Pitkin Moves!

“We think this is a critical opportunity for the valley to come together and stabilize the base under public transportation,” said Skico vice president Bill Kane.

Voters in seven jurisdictions will decide this fall whether to form a new taxing district that would replace RFTA, the agency that provides bus service in the Roaring Fork Valley.

The lure for voters is the promise of expanded service, with buses running in and out of Glenwood Springs and Carbondale every 30 minutes. The plan also calls for 15-minute service between El Jebel and Aspen during peak winter hours. Currently, RFTA buses leave for El Jebel every half-hour, Carbondale every hour and Glenwood Springs every two hours.

But those in downvalley communities will be asked to pay up to four-tenths of a percent in sales tax to support the new organization. Pitkin County taxpayers currently pay for the bulk of RFTA’s expenses with a 1.5-percent sales tax that’s dedicated to transportation. RFTA officials have said that, without the formation of a transportation authority, they would be hard pressed to maintain the existing level of service.

“If we don’t pass this, our bus service will contract,” said Valley Moves! co-chair Randy Udall. “They’re just hemorrhaging red ink at RFTA. It’s not a choice between better service and the status quo, it’s a choice between better service and a system that’s smaller and struggling even more than it is now.”

Kane said Skico’s support comes for several reasons, but a big one is the fact that many of its 3,000 employees live in the midvalley and lower valley. “Rifle to Aspen is a community of neighborhoods, and the neighborhoods need to be linked,” he said.

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