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Avon proposes transit cooperation

Veronica Whitney

Avon leaders say they hope to work together with Eagle County on some transit services – and save money.

A proposal, sent in a letter to Eagle County Administrator Jack Ingstad, includes a connector route between Beaver Creek and Avon.

“We need to find some way to save money on the costs before the next ski season,” said Larry Brooks, Avon town manager.

Avon is offering:

– To enter into a parking agreement with ECO Transit. Parking some buses in the Avon parking site instead of driving all the way to the ECO parking facility in Gypsum, could save ECO some $377,000 each year, Avon town officials said.

– To perform maintenance on ECO buses that serve the area east of Wolcott.

– To subsidize the fare revenue with Beaver Creek for the skier shuttle between Avon and Vail. ECO could run this route or pay Avon to run it based on the cost of this route, which is $300,000.

– To contract with Avon to provide daily transit operations – perhaps only the portion of the service east of Wolcott.

According to a recent report by a transit consultant, Avon can provide mass-transit operations for less money that the county is currently doing, Brooks said.

“Conservatively speaking, we project that the county will receive $988,000 in taxes from the two Big Boxes – Wal-Mart and Home Depot –

in the first full year of operations of the two stores,” Brooks said.

“We would hope that such revenue would more than justify our request for service.”

If Avon can’t reach a transit agreement with the county, the town may terminate the route for next winter, Brooks said.

“We believe a decision must be reached by the end of June if we need to implement changes or terminate the service,” Brooks said. “This isn’t a package deal, though. The county might choose some of our proposals but not all.”

Brooks said he expects the transit options to be discussed at ECO’s meeting of the board of directors next month.

“I think it’s a great idea to talk about consolidation of services,” said Jack Ingstad, Eagle County administrator, “especially the parking of buses in Avon. But it’s up to the ECO board to decide.”

Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at vwhitney@vaildaily.com.


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