Expansion of airport a slippery slope
Paul Andersen, Thomas Daly and John McBride have all made a powerful case for not expanding the Aspen airport. To give my comments context, I will tell you I have lived in the valley for 30-plus years, traveling into and out of Aspen from the airport. During that period I have accumulated literally millions of air miles on various carriers, with those trips mostly originating at ASE. (Those miles are scars on my body, not a badge.) I have experienced many a tense moment that were cause to reflect on my mortality, mostly while landing at ASE rather than on take off. The current planning process is very short-sighted. Moving the landing strip 80 feet is a short-term plan, soon followed by obsolescence as larger planes land and capacity is soon exceeded. After that, it is only a matter of time before some group puts forward an outrageous plan to shave 100 feet of stone from the face of Shale Bluffs for the next expansion. Expansion of the Rifle airport is an intelligent, long-term solution, a better use of local and federal funds. There will be those who say, “Oh, we can get federal funds.” Don’t they understand the source of those funds? I urge whomever is in charge of the process of planning to seriously consider the long-term ramifications of every alternative before getting locked in on expansion of the Aspen airport.