Gov. Ritter talks roads in Vail |

Gov. Ritter talks roads in Vail

Edward Stoner
Vail Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” Gov. Bill Ritter, in Vail on Wednesday, told county officials from across the state that he will continue to battle the “quiet crisis” that faces the state’s transportation system.

“I’m not so sure it’s going to be quiet for long,” Ritter said at the summer conference of Colorado Counties Inc. at the Vail Cascade.

He said he will extend the life of a committee called the Blue Ribbon Transportation Panel, which recently detailed the challenges that face Colorado’s transportation system. Cuts in state and federal funds have put road plans in jeopardy.

“There’s great value in continuing this conversation,” he said. “And part of the value is this: We still need to engage in an education campaign in this state about transportation issues.”

Ritter said more people should read the Blue Ribbon panel’s recommendations, which were released earlier this year. They included ways to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in funds using methods such as a gas tax, a rental car tax, a hotel tax, a sales tax and a mineral tax.

Peter Runyon, an Eagle County commissioner who attended the meeting, said the extension of the Blue Ribbon panel will “fine-tune” plans to raise road funds. The extension of the panel’s lifespan doesn’t mean it hasn’t been effective, Runyon said.

“They did what they were mandated to do,” he said. “I think they are expanding the scope of work to be more detailed in both the funding options and the project options.”

Runyon is a member of a separate group, “Collaborative Effort,” which recently made recommendations for the future of Interstate 70, calling for study of mass transit and widening in some places.

Sara Fisher, another Eagle County commissioner in attendance, said the Blue Ribbon panel has made strides in coming up with solutions and she was encouraged that the group will continue to look to help Eagle County, including Interstate 70.

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