Glenwood Springs, Colo-based Roaring Fork Transportation Authority received nearly $25 million from the FTA for a new express bus service that will improve access to jobs and tourist destinations and relieve roadway congestion in rural Western Rocky Mountain counties that are now among the fastest growing in the state.
The new bus rapid transit (BRT) service will provide a boost in comfort, speed and convenience for thousands of workers who now spend hours in their cars commuting to businesses and popular resorts in Aspen and Snowmass Village from outlying communities like Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, where homes are more affordable.
The service also provides a welcome alternative to sitting in traffic in downtown Aspen or along State Highway 82 — a heavily used road that is the main thoroughfare tying the region to the rest of Colorado.
Features of the new BRT service, called VelociRFTA, include priority travel lanes that keep buses moving through traffic lights, real-time "next bus" information, onboard Wi-Fi service, and enclosed bus shelters to protect passengers from rain and snow.
Nine bus stations and five park and ride facilities will be built, and 15 new, clean diesel buses will be purchased to provide frequent service along a 40-mile corridor between Aspen and Glenwood Springs.
FTA committed nearly $25 million — a 54 percent share — of the total $46.1 million project through its Small Starts capital program in fiscal years 2010 and 2011.