Try again, RFTA | AspenTimes.com

Try again, RFTA

Dear Editor:

Why don’t agencies such as RFTA, the school district, county and the city get together and figure out what is really needed in the Roaring Fork Valley when writing referendums?

All this taxing is killing the middle class. I particularly have a problem with RFTA not only because some of their drivers are the most dangerous drivers on Highway 82, but because I believe that RFTA has sold out the valley’s opportunity to have light rail. In 1999, the light rail issue was voted down. I believe that if this same initiative were on the ballot in 2004, before the tracks were torn up, that voters would have been ready for an additional mode of transportation beside buses. RFTA never gave us the opportunity to find out.

In the mid-1990s the Roaring Fork Railroad Holding Authority (RFRHA) bought the Rio Grande rail line between Glenwood Springs and Woody Creek with the intention to keep the corridor open for future transit and build a trail along side. Great Outdoors Colorado gave money to this purchase with the promise that again, a trail system would be built along side of the rail corridor. The RFRHA eventually gave management of this transit corridor to RFTA. Then in 2004, RFTA took a $1 million-plus offer from a scrap metal company for purchase of the rails in the corridor

Knowing that it is a lot easier to rip tracks up then to lay new ones down, RFTA spent beaucoup bucks to build a trail. RFTA not only ripped up the tracks and took out the ties, RFTA also paved it. Just recently RFTA was given an award by the state, recognizing “… that this attraction, which will be one of the things our state has to offer to people from around the nation and the world, is an amenity created with support and funding from all the communities in the Roaring Fork Valley.” Say what? I don’t think that we are going to see light rail in the valley time soon. As a member of the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority, RFTA is now pursuing light rail on the I-70 Corridor.

The Aspen Times cautiously endorses 4A, I do not. RFTA has everything a spoiled brat could want, and they still want more. If RFTA were to say they wanted money to build housing for their employees on the many acres of land they have, I’d be for it. If RFTA said that they wanted money to fund a program in valley high schools to teach auto/bus mechanics, I’d be for it. At this time, it is not wise to spend precious funds on bus location devises or WiFi on buses. But if RFTA were to use funds to build a natural gas station, I’d be voting yes.

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Do voters realize that of the 4.45 million people who rode the bus last year, only one-third paid a fare? Do voters realize that RFTA is considering a 10 to 15 percent fare hike next year? Fuel costs have dropped significantly since this referendum was written, has RFTA done anything to take advantage of lower fuel prices? Does RFTA really need new buses? What can RFTA do with bus scheduling so that big buses are not galloping up and down the valley with no one on them? The economic disaster we are experiencing is real. RFTA needs to go back to their planning board and look at what is really important for the valley over the next few years. Vote no of 4A.

Kim Vieira

Aspen