GreenPort plan could benefit the Vail Valley
Congratulations to Vail Resorts and the Town of Vail for putting on a great Lindsey Vonn homecoming this past Wednesday. Its moments and events like this that makes it exciting to live, work, and vacation in this great community of Vail.A few days ago there was an article about a study done on the possibility of a high speed rail system in Colorado. The proposed system would run north and south along the Interstate 25 corridor and east to west from DIA to Grand Junction along the Interstate 70 corridor, with spur lines running to places including Craig and Steamboat, Aspen, Breckenridge and Central City/Black Hawk. Wouldn’t it be great if something like this was in place now, or even could be operational in a couple of years? How great would it be to travel the ends of the state without having to get in a car and drive? Getting in a car and driving seems to be something that we have gotten very good at over the years. You can personally see how good we have gotten by just traveling I-70 on a Friday or Sunday afternoon. But with a $21 billion price tag, a rail network seems like wishful thinking. In the meantime, we’ll keep out fingers crossed and hope something eventually will get done. You never know, with a $400 billion health care bill, what’s a skimpy $21 billion?If you really want to hear about something that would have some positive local impact, pay attention to the proposed GreenPort program. You might not have heard about this yet, but you will. In short, GreenPort is an initiative to use the existing train rail that runs through Eagle County and combine it with the bus system to create a transportation system that will connect existing and proposed residential villages.GreenPort would reach from Dotsero to Minturn by using the Union Pacific tracks with possible expansion up to Leadville. Running on the existing tracks would be a green diesel hybrid train. Proposed stops would include Dotsero, Gypsum, Eagle County Airport, Eagle, Wolcott, West Edwards, Edwards, Avon, Eagle Vail and Minturn. In addition to the rail service, there would be expanded bus service from the rail stations to Vail and Red Cliff, with possible expanded service to each of the communities around the various stations. GreenPort also incorporates “workforce villages.” These LEED communities would be located near the proposed stops. Imagine being able to work and travel around Eagle County via public transportation!.The cost of the project is estimated at $650 million. While still a lot of money, it’s a far cry from the billions being considered for other programs. The only way for GreenPort to succeed, is joint cooperation from both the public and private sector. We will be sure to keep you updated as more information becomes available regarding GreenPort. As I mentioned earlier, I’m sure there will be much discussion but hopefully in the end, we will have a better community because of it.The Vail Chamber & Business Association is the leading business advocacy group in Vail and is a communications outlet for businesses that want to have a voice in community affairs. To find out more about the Vail Chamber and what it has to offer, contact us at 970-477-0075 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Based in Vail Village, our office is located in the transportation center and our doors are open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Stop by and say hello!Richard tenBraak is Executive Director of the Vail Chamber & Business Association.