RFTA rolls out 500-page `road map’

Lynn BurtonPost Independent Staff

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority released its 500-page Corridor Investment Study Thursday. A half-decade in the making, it boils down to the following:-The CIS finishes RFTA’s planning phase for rapid transit from Aspen to West Glenwood.-RFTA will soon decide how to spend $2 million in federal funds for short-term transit facilities.-The CIS moves RFTA toward creating an integrated transportation system for the Highway 82 corridor.”The CIS is a road map for transit investments,” said RFTA spokesperson Alice Hubbard. “Without a road map, that investment won’t happen.”The CIS is available for public inspection at local government offices and libraries in the RFTA service area, and on CD by calling 963-9012. The executive summary is available on the RFTA Web site at will be explaining the CIS to local governments and civic groups in the weeks ahead. Important dates are as follows:-On May 28 and 29, RFTA holds workshops in Aspen, Glenwood Springs and the midvalley area to discuss transit vehicle technology.-On June 12, the RFTA board finalizes a grant proposal to spend $2 million in authorized federal funds.”We’ve identified a number of badly needed park-and-ride facilities in our service area,” Hubbard said.Hubbard said RFTA funding for other projects included in the CIS could come from sales taxes, but not property taxes. “State legislation doesn’t allow a property tax,” Hubbard said. “So that’s not on the table.”The CIS contains three transit scenarios: Do nothing, rail and bus. The $128 million Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) option is the one RFTA is pitching.To cover the $128 million to construct a BRT system by 2008, RFTA will ask for $64 million from the federal government, with the remaining $64 million split between the state and local governments.The CIS is divided into nine chapters, titled: Purpose and Need, Alternatives, Affected Environment, Transportation Impacts, Environmental Consequences, Cumulative Impacts, Mitigation Measures, Finance, and Public Involvement.There is a also a list of preparers, glossary, references, two appendices, maps and tables.Key components to a BRT system would be heated bus stops like the one in Aspen’s Ruby Park, park-and-ride lots in each town, computerized systems to improve scheduling, global positioning systems to let riders know exactly when buses arrive, and highway improvements to allow buses to reach their destinations more quickly.Hubbard said the BRT system could be built in phases, and Aspen already has $12 million banked for part of its share. She said a RFTA-wide vote on funding is not scheduled.”We’re not that specific yet,” she said. “Our next step is to get comments.”Hubbard said some specific proposals in the BRT system could be eliminated if funding is a problem. “The project is conceptual,” she said. “There are a lot of bells and whistles.”Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext.

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