Vehicle registration fee hike will fund RFTA next year |

Vehicle registration fee hike will fund RFTA next year

Greg Masse

Motorists in much of the Roaring Fork Valley can look forward to a $10 rise in their vehicle registration fee next year.

The increase was approved Thursday by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority Board as a way to make up for expected revenue shortfall in 2003.

“We’re anticipating a $900,000 revenue shortfall for 2003,” said RFTA executive director Dan Blankenship.

RFTA is able to impose the $10 fee as part of the powers voters granted the agency in 2000.

Thursday’s meeting focused on the fee and other ways RFTA can make up for that shortfall.

“Right now, preliminary estimates are that it will generate $350,000 to $400,000,” Blankenship said of the $10 registration charge.

It applies to anyone who registers their vehicle in Pitkin County, the Roaring Fork Valley side of Eagle County, and the towns of Aspen, Snowmass Village, Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs..

Residents of Garfield County and of towns and cities west of Glenwood Springs along Interstate 70 won’t pay the fee because they are not within RFTA’s taxing boundary.

Garfield County “could have allowed us to implement the fee. They could use it as a way of providing funding without joining,” Blankenship said.

RFTA is among about half the country’s transit systems looking at budget shortfalls caused by the faltering economy. While some services may need to be cut, Blankenship said RFTA will do what it can to hang onto current riders who might otherwise drive.

“One of the challenges is to try to preserve what we can, because it’s so difficult to get people out of their car in the first place,” Blankenship said.

Other measures being looked at to save money include putting off capital replacement purchases, cutting night and weekend routes somewhat in spring, summer and fall, and possibly asking for money from Garfield County and the towns not part of the RFTA district, such as New Castle, Silt and Rifle.

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