Letter: Keep light-rail option alive | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Keep light-rail option alive

Keep light-rail option alive

Articles in both of Aspen’s Sunday papers on March 1 illustrate the great importance that two railroads have had on the history of the Roaring Fork Valley and its future.

The penetration of the Continental Divide by Colorado Midland now makes possible diversion of Western Slope water to Front Range cities, an unintended consequence of its abandonment.

The removal of track from the historic Denver and Rio Grande Western rail right of way also places at risk the loss of this historic right of way. The last passenger use occurred in September 1997, when more than 3,000 people rode a light-rail demonstration vehicle between Glenwood and Carbondale, thus keeping alive the hopes for a future light rail in the Roaring Fork Valley.

I am glad to have played a part in the acquisition and preservation of a future light-rail option for our valley. The preservation of both our water and transportation options is absolutely essential if we are to preserve a quality environment. This includes clean, renewal hydroelectric options and the reduction of wasteful energy practices such as single-occupancy-vehicle trips.

As a matter of historical correctness, the Rio Grande never ran its tracks through Basalt, a “Colorado midland town.” The nearest Rio Grande track was located at Emma across the Roaring Fork River.

Jim Markalunas


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