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Ride Glenwood should be free

Dear Editor,

Kudos to Councilman Dan Richardson for pushing the Glenwood Springs City Council to make the Ride Glenwood bus free and to Councilman Dave Merritt for his support. (See Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Feb. 24, 2002, page 7).

There are two taxes that were passed by the voters to support the Ride Glenwood bus. These are the Bus Tax (which has a budgeted tax income of $640,912 for the year 2001), and the Transportation Management Tax (which has a budgeted tax income of $801,140 for the year 2001). And the expected tax income for the year 2001 is expected to be above the budgeted numbers.



The Transportation Management Tax has as one of its purposes to “be exclusively utilized for the purposes of developing and implementing a traffic congestion management program for the City. The traffic congestion management implementation program may include, but not be limited to, Inter-and intra-city public transit including capital, operation and management expenditures.” Up until the end of the year 2000, these taxes covered almost $500,000 in support of the Ride Glenwood bus, as it should have according to the ballot that was approved by the voters of the city of Glenwood Springs. In the year 2001, the fund had budgeted excess in revenues over expenditures of almost $800,000. This was the year that the other tax, the `Bus Tax,” became effective.

The voters approved the two taxes to support the Ride Glenwood bus. These two taxes have a total budgeted tax income of over TWO TIMES the RFTA budgeted total cost for the Ride Glenwood bus WITHOUT any fares collected for the year 2002.



And there are important reasons that the Ride Glenwood bus should be a free bus system for Glenwood Springs in addition to the fact that the citizens are paying sufficient taxes to cover the total cost.

The first reason is the parking problem. Employees driving to Glenwood Springs are parking in downtown spaces and will continue to do so as long as there is a $1 bus fare in each direction between a Park-And-Ride lot and their office or shop. This fare is a significant disincentive to any in-town parking solution. In fact, by doing away with this unnecessary fare, and combining with other possible solutions, the need for the huge cost and misuse of valuable downtown space for a parking structure may be eliminated.

The second reason is the downtown traffic. Although a major portion (traffic driving through town to destinations upvalley) will still be a problem, making the Ride Glenwood bus a free bus within the city of Glenwood Springs will induce some to use it. Those who now drive to the library, to a doctor’s appointment or to Wal-Mart may take the bus and be “part of the solution instead of part of the problem.”

The City Council does not have to study this concept forever. The tax funds are being paid by the residents of Glenwood Springs, and they are sufficient to fund a free Ride Glenwood bus. It is time the city did something for the residents of Glenwood Springs for all the taxes they are paying.

Stan Stevens

Glenwood Springs


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