Regional Transportation Authority moves forward with a new name and consultant |

Regional Transportation Authority moves forward with a new name and consultant

A Steamboat Springs Transit bus passes through Hayden on Jan. 25. A feasibility study surrounding a local Regional Transportation Authority launched in March, and local officials plan to continue community outreach efforts.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Efforts to create a Regional Transportation Authority are progressing with a new consultant and the launch of a feasibility study. 

Steamboat Springs Transit Manager Jonathan Flint and Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. Director of Social Responsibility Sarah Jones updated officials representing Steamboat Springs and Routt County on Tuesday, March 14. Among the first of the updates was a name change. 

“We moved from Regional Transit Authority to Regional Transportation Authority to ensure that all options for transportation are available,” Flint said. “The idea has really expanded beyond just buses.”  

The shift looks to open up the definition of “transportation” and not limit the different avenues an RTA could take, meaning its purview would not only include modes of transportation but streets, roads and pathways as well. 

Flint and Jones also announced that after submitting a request for proposals, the group has selected a consultant, the same group that helped get the Eagle Valley Transportation Authority off the ground.

A project management team has been compiled and an advisory committee consisting of members from all three municipality partners has been established. Officials also launched a feasibility study this month that is slated to end January. Currently, the study is looking into a needs assessment and existing conditions.

For the study, officials will seek the input of city and county stakeholders, including those who are transit dependent, as well as the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, health care providers, airports, large employers and others. 

Another community outreach survey will go out at the end of this summer to try to identify community priorities.

Flint shared the news that all three municipal partners — Steamboat Springs, Craig and Routt County — were able to secure a full grant for the process. Once securing grants, the group behind actualizing an RTA put in a request for proposal and divided the process up into three generalized areas. 

Routt County is tasked with outreach to all the different communities to gauge where people’s interests lie and find out who would like to participate. Steamboat Springs will focus on elections, legal matters, partnership arrangements and funding. Craig will look into different potential modes of transportation. 

All transit or transportation authorities need voter-approved funding. Flint explained that this has to go through voters in order to approve the way it’s funded and to identify the projects that will be included in the funding. Presenters emphasized the importance of community outreach and input to get this planning process nailed down before taking it to voters. 

Additionally, the effort to create a local RTA will look into polling to analyze trends and identify areas that may need clarification or further exploration. 

“The nice thing is we are not inventing the wheel,” Flint said. “There are a lot of different communities that have gone through this as well.”

Flint and Jones also delved into the background of previous attempts to form an RTA. The idea for an RTA in Routt County first came around 2008 and had support from similar groups that it does now. The economic downturn of 2008 threw a wrench in the plans of what was then the Innovative Transportation Solutions Committees, and it was decided to just focus on air travel versus all transportation in general. 

Using aspects of the previous attempt, officials sought the aid of the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration to get a plan together for a new RTA.


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