Letter: Upvalley houses, not buses
I just got a flyer in the mail for the public hearing [ballot question proposal] to increase our mill levy to pay for RFTA improvements, expansions and fleet replacements, and I’m doing a slow burn.
RFTA argues that bus ridership reduces pollution, congestion and wear and tear on our roads. While that may be true, the same could be said about living in the same community where you work, not to mention the added benefits of less stress from not spending two hours each day commuting and more time with your family.
But, by having their employees take a bus, upvalley employers don’t have to worry about paying them enough to live closer or providing employee housing. And when their employees live downvalley, they also don’t have to worry about providing police and fire protection, education for their children, health services, parks and recreation and all the other expenses that get shifted downvalley. Just put them on a bus and let the “downvalley degenerates” worry about those.
RFTA projects Garfield County population to increase 65 percent between 2017 and 2050, but Pitkin County only 29 percent.
Now they want to raise our taxes to pay for the buses, too. Sounds like one of those plans to make the rich richer, the poor poorer and screw the middle class out of existence.
Here’s a suggestion: Why not tax Roaring Fork Valley employers $1,000/year per mile for each one of their employees that lives more than 10 miles away from their place of employment? A Glenwood big box store with a stocker from Parachute, that’s an extra $30,000. An Aspen hotel with a cleaning person from Rifle, that’s an additional $65,000. That would encourage employers to either provide housing or pay their employees enough to afford closer housing; or otherwise put the onus on the people benefiting the most from RFTA.