Beware Aspen’s boomer brigade

The airport improvement saga continues, with the current debate driven largely by a dedicated group of aging boomers, the loudest of whom bought their homes under the flight path or near the airport and who have been complaining about the airplanes ever since.

They’re doing everything they can to undermine the recommendations of the Airport Vision Committee, who, after a yearlong effort involving dozens of citizen volunteers, recommended going forward with replacing our outdated terminal and widening the runway to increase safety and make the airport accessible to the new generation of airplanes that are cleaner, quieter, safer and more efficient.

But these boomers are resolute. If they don’t get their way by scaring the Pitkin County commissioners into delaying air-side improvements, you’ll probably see them this winter standing on the street corners trying to collect enough signatures to put a blocking referendum vote on the ballot.

But here’s the thing — they’re gambling with your future, not theirs. It’d probably take 10 years to get the airport rebuilt if the county started today. With the new environmental review that will be required for the recommended plan, it’ll likely take longer. By then, millennials will be in their 40s, and these boomers, even if they haven’t by then moved on to Paonia, won’t have to deal with the repercussions of their actions. But the rest of us will.

And that’s my point. If you’re under 50, if you still work for a living, if you’re trying to raise a family, buy your first home or pay off your mortgage, please start paying attention and support the airport improvements. Because if the next decade or two air service into Aspen collapses, or is significantly reduced, these vocal opponents of air-side improvements are not going to have to pay the price. You are.

Barry Vaughan

El Jebel