Colorado resort economies rely mightily on regional airports, but funding proves elusive |

Colorado resort economies rely mightily on regional airports, but funding proves elusive

The future of Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, as seen from Owl Creek Road, could involve relocating part of the road to allow for a runway to accommodate larger aircraft. More parking and a new terminal also are being discussed.
Aspen Times file photo |

Colorado’s resort communities rely heavily on area airports to support their tourism-based economies, but funding flights that bring tourists to town remains a challenge.

Durango voters this month overwhelmingly rejected a plan to raise property taxes to fund a new $40 million terminal at the overcapacity local airport, revealing the difficulty of funding consistent air service into Colorado’s rural regions.

“The vote lost because it was a property tax increase and people didn’t want that for anything related to transportation,” said Roger Zalneraitis of the La Plata County Economic Development Alliance, which campaigned for the tax increase on a study showing the Durango-La Plata County Airport supports 2,400 jobs and spurs $161 million in annual economic impact. “If there had been a way for only tourists to pay — say a lodger’s tax — this would have passed very easily.”

Read the full story at the Denver Post.

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