Letter: No pork in RFTA spending | AspenTimes.com

Letter: No pork in RFTA spending

First, consider the source of the report Glenn Beaton gleefully cites (“Jurassic pork,” Commentary, The Aspen Times, July 19). Hailing from Arizona myself, I can tell you firsthand that Sen. Jeff Flake has never met a defense or private-prison spending bill he didn’t like. Given the sheer number of contributions he receives from those interests and Big Oil, it’s little surprise he’d take aim at a public-transportation project like the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.

Second, I congratulate Beaton on earning a hefty enough salary that doesn’t necessitate his ridership on RFTA going down into Aspen. If he ever had a chance to ride one in the morning, he would find it packed with hardworking folks who obviously are on their way to their jobs but certainly cannot afford to live in the city proper. I would remind everyone here that Aspen, as a tourist destination, is absolutely dependent on these kinds of workers to staff all the hotels, eateries, retail and so forth.

The fact is that, yes, the Roaring Fork Valley has a pretty small population. And building any kind of system like this for such a small place is bound to produce what seems like a staggering per-capita expenditure. But the RFTA service is vital for the economic health of the region. Ridership is very steady at all times of day, and I’d like you all to imagine what the morning bottleneck out by the airport on the way into town would be like if each one of those workers were packed one to a car.

Pretty grim, no? Let’s all thank the drivers and planners for helping keep our air cleaner and the morning drive a bit less crowded.

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