Saturday, January 13, 2007

The RFTA's BRT pothole

Carbondale CO - The Aspen Times reports that the Roaring Forks Transit Authority's (RFTA) plan for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) operation has hit a bump. The City of Aspen voted against funding a design and management team for the proposed BRT system.

I personally like the RFTA. It is a rapidly growing transit system that is currently doing rather well overall. From reading this news story however, I question if perhaps they are growing a bit too much and a bit too fast. Considering they unofficially refer to the BRT plan as "the RFTA on steriods", it does makes one wonder if they're biting off more than they can chew.

The all-for-one, one-for-all attitude of the governing body of the RFTA makes me question a few things. Primary of which is if there is uncontrolled growth of the operation. By uncontrolled growth, I mean growth of the operation without concern for what lays in the future.

Aspen has shown what could very well happen in the future if the system is allowed to become bloated. One or two of the contributing governing entities could very well vote against funding in the future and that could spell a major cutback in services to a heavily bloated system that needs more and more money every year just to survive.

The Three Musketeer's style of governing the system makes me question how in depth potential problems are really looked at. When you have a "good idea" that sounds great brought forth to the board by another board member, is it analyzed properly for problems or does everyone just vote in favor of it? In my experiences with government bodies that follow the all-for-one, one-for-all governing style, it's usually the latter.

While I'm sure the BRT plan that the RFTA has proposed is needed given the traffic and bus ridership levels in the area, one still must ask: "Can the system really afford it, now and in the future?"

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