A group of community leaders has appointed an unofficial transportation authority to work on improving transportation in Grand County.
Representatives from both the public and private sectors convened at the Grand County Transportation Stakeholders Summit on Monday, Aug. 18, in the Mountain Parks Electric Community Meeting Room to discuss new possibilities for transportation throughout the county.
Leaders chose five focus areas in which to move forward: resurrecting the now defunct “ski train” from Denver to Grand County, upgrading Grand County’s current transportation system, establishing a cross county transportation system between Kremmling and Winter Park, identifying funding alternatives for transportation, and developing transportation to and from county airports.
Participants discussed the importance of having a transportation “spine” in Grand County, which would connect smaller, community-based transportation systems.
“Not having a strong transportation system is deterring us from being sustainable as a county,” said Catherine Ross, director of the Winter Park-Fraser Chamber of Commerce.
The group elected representatives from both sides of the county, from both government and private entities, to form a task force to decide how the county can pursue its transportation goals.
Jane Hickey with the Colorado Department of Transportation, said she thought the cohesiveness of those at the meeting would move any county proposals forward in the queue for CDOT funding.
“You have all the pieces that you need, and you’re living in a jewel of a county, and you’re all willing to share it with people from the outside,” said Hickey.
Lance Gutersohn, who was selected for the new committee, said he wasn’t sure yet when the first meeting would take place.
The county is conducting community assessments to determine where the county’s transportation needs lie, though during the meeting, attendants identified health care users, daycare users, schools, tourists and lodging consumers as major stakeholders in county transportation.
Local leaders are also working with Downtown Colorado Inc., a Denver-based non-profit, to determine what the county needs to move forward with transportation improvement and reform.
The business will hold a “citizens academy” in the spring to educate local leaders on engaging citizens to affect change.
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.