Council questions RFTA tax |

Council questions RFTA tax

Greg Masse

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s proposed $10-per-year fee hike for vehicle registration was called a regressive tax Thursday by a Glenwood Springs city councilman.

The new fee, proposed by RFTA to bolster revenues, would be charged on any vehicle registered within RFTA boundaries, regardless of the vehicle’s value.

“It’s sort of a regressive tax,” Councilman Dave Merritt said. “On some vehicles it would double the tax, while on others, it would only be 2 to 3 percent.”

In this case, a regressive tax becomes proportionately lower for higher priced vehicles.

Those affected by the fee increase include residents of Aspen, Pitkin County, Snowmass Village, Basalt and its adjoining part of Eagle County, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. Residents of unincorporated Garfield County, as well as towns west of Glenwood Springs along the Colorado River corridor, will not be affected by the fee.

Other council members questioned where the money will go and expressed concerns about money that’s collected within the RFTA boundaries being sent outside those boundaries.

“It’s going to be just like the other tax for the RTA. It goes into a big pool,” RFTA executive director Dan Blankenship said.

If the tax passes, it won’t take effect until sometime in the middle of 2003.

“Ultimately, the board will make the decisions,” he said, but clarified that the revenue has to go toward “highway-related uses.”

Blankenship and RFTA attorney Renee Black spoke to council to try and garner support for the revenue-generating measure.

“We are in serious financial straits right now,” Black said. The board “feels it would be worse to cut service than to impose something they don’t want to impose.”

A public hearing on the fee hike will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, at the Eagle County Community Center in El Jebel.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext 511


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