Letter: Not giving up on rail
Regarding the March 12 article in The Aspen Times “Supreme Court ruling threatens rails to trails,” having served on the Roaring Fork Rail Holding Authority Board during the acquisition of the Denver and Rio Grand Western Railroad right of way, I recall it was the hope and expectation of many that the restoration of rail service was a viable transit alternative for the Roaring Fork Valley. This was aptly demonstrated in September 1997, when more than 3,000 folks rode a self-propelled, passenger-rail vehicle between Glenwood and Carbondale, sponsored by the Western Slope Rail Association and local governments. This rail demonstration held forth the promise of “quality transit” for the valley.
Unfortunately, the removal of the track under “Rail to Trail” for a little-used bike path between Glenwood and Carbondale was, and still is, a “questionable decision” that is now threatened by the Supreme Court decision and is jeopardized by the decision to do only a trail rather than both a rail and a trail along the corridor.
Time will tell the real story — quality light-rail transit can still be achieved. It is up to us, or you can “ride the bus.” It was possible to have both rail and trail and maintain the integrity of the rail corridor with the proper planning and foresight.
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