Briefs Rural Transportation Authority

RTA and Land Trust to talk Hwy. 135 safety
The Gunnison Valley Rural Transportation Authority is going to meet with the Crested Butte Land Trust and take another look at safety options for the intersection of Cement Creek Road and Highway 135.



RTA Bus driver Jim Schmidt wrote a letter to RTA chairman (and land trust board member) Jim Starr and Land Trust president Jeff Hermanson asking the Land Trust to reconsider using a small part of the 36-acre Niccoli parcel as a bus pull-off or park-and-ride near the intersection. Schmidt was concerned about the safety of people getting of the southbound bus and crossing the busy highway.
Hermanson says he will meet with Truex this week.  “If the RTA and community decide that the CBLT owned Niccoli parcel is the best solution for public safety at the Cement Creek intersection, we are more than willing to work toward a positive solution for public safety,” Hermanson says.
Truex says he will present the RTA board with several options for improving passenger safety getting on and off the bus. Unfortunately, Truex says the RTA doesn’t have enough money to construct a new bus stop any time soon. “Even if we had the land we couldn’t do anything,” he says.

CBMR asks to reconsider airline guarantee scheme
During their June 12 meeting, the RTA board approved several contracts with airlines that will fly into the Gunnison/Crested Butte Regional Airport next ski season. Crested Butte Mountain Resort officials also asked the RTA to reconsider the funding arrangement for a set of financial guarantees the two groups use to entice airlines to fly to the local airport. In a special meeting on May 29, the RTA and CBMR agreed to a funding scheme whereby the two entities would split the first $800,000 in guarantees, the RTA would pay the next $200,000 and the resort would pay anything in excess of $1 million.
CBMR chief operating officer Ken Stone says the resort is facing $625,000 worth of risk if the full guarantee must be paid at the end of the season, and “No matter what, the ski area is going to pick up $400,000.”
The two groups were unable to negotiate flights to Chicago this year, although CBMR officials had asked the RTA to consider putting up an extra $75,000 in guarantees to fund seven weekend flights to Chicago during the course of the season.
Truex says the board was not inclined to change any part of the May 29 agreement or increase the RTA’s financial commitment.
The board authorized signatures on contracts with CBMR, Delta, United and American Airlines.
There will be one daily round-trip flight to Dallas on American Airlines. Delta Airlines will provide weekly round trip flights to Atlanta on Saturdays, plus round-trip flights to Salt Lake City four days a week. Between December 17 and January 4 there will be daily flights to Salt Lake City on Delta.
United Airlines is offering three round-trip flights a day to Denver on a propeller plane. On weekends between December 17 and the end of March a fourth round-trip flight to Denver will be offered on a larger Airbus jet.
Overall, RTA airline consultant Kent Myers says the 2009/10 air service schedule represents a 22 percent decrease from last winter, but it is still 8 percent more than what was offered during the 06/07 season.

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