The light rail solution
November 27, 2007
In response to the recent letter to the editor on bicycle commuting, perhaps our elected officials and the Roaring Fork Trail and Transit authority will take some lessons from the northern European countries and pursue light rail as the mass-transit alternative that will ultimately solve the congestion and environmental impacts of automobiles on this valley. If you really want to give people options, learn from countries like Denmark and Sweden where bicycles and trains operate hand in hand to facilitate commuter travel from every possible distance.
If we are truly interested in reducing our carbon footprint, air pollution and our reliance on foreign oil, as well as the impacts of oil drilling on places like the Roan Plateau, we will demand leadership from local elected officials to pursue the funding for and implementation of valleywide light rail.
Consider what proposals have been made to subsidize the costs of the proposed Bus Rapid Transit system with its slogan “Think Rail, Ride Bus.” Consider what we are considering spending on hospital expansion alone. Consider the fuel and tax subsidies necessary for building and expanding more asphalt highways. Consider the future of the planet and the limited time we have available to reverse the effects of global warming. The relative costs of these projects make the investment in a long-term solution like light rail an attainable and necessary possibility.
In case you haven’t noticed, the upvalley morning commute is not far from exceeding the capacity of the existing four-lane highway in many downvalley locations. One need only drive against this traffic during commute times to witness both lanes clogged with traffic. For elected officials to sit back and wait for a solution to the Entrance to Aspen is both short-sighted and irresponsible. Light rail can solve both the Entrance to Aspen and the valleywide transportation problem while protecting the environment and the planet. It just requires some leadership!
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