Elected officials lobby FTA for RFTA funds | PostIndependent.com

Elected officials lobby FTA for RFTA funds

Three Colorado elected officials have urged the Federal Transportation Agency to release $24 million in funding for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s bus-rapid transit line on Highway 82.

On Thursday, U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet (D) and Mark Udall (D), along with Rep. Jared Polis (D), sent a letter to FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff, asking him to make it a priority to take $24 million out of a pool of $1.6 billion in transit funds appropriated by Congress this year.

“With the FY2011 appropriations process now completed, we understand FTA will move forward with awarding capital grants, and we urge you to make this project among the first that you announce,” they wrote.

What’s known as the VelociRFTA project would construct stations and improve the existing road for a bus fleet to address transit demand and congestion along Highway 82.

The lawmakers also noted that the funding is needed soon so that RFTA can capitalize on the short construction season in the Roaring Fork Valley.

“Given the uncertainty in federal appropriations, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority has postponed acquisition of the necessary rights-of-way and buses, as well as construction of designated bus stations and lanes, to await confirmation of an FY2011 capital grant,” the lawmakers continued. “Any significant delay in a grant notification may preclude RFTA from beginning substantive project work this season given its geographic location.”

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