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Letters to the editor

Jeffrey K. Christensen

Having observed the I-70 corridor debate over the years and in recent columns, I have yet to see anyone propose a sound set of solutions. So please, let me give it a try.There is no single solution to our congestion problems. It will take rerouting passenger, tractor trailer, and cargo traffic through the I-70 corridor. It will also displace many businesses and livelihoods while creating new opportunities and futures in different businesses throughout the state. I suggest three different proposals to solve our I-70 corridor problems:1. Divert all Interstate 70 tractor-trailer traffic to a rail line from Denver to Grand Junction and charge them $250 per truck. Yes, I know this sounds far-fetched at first. But think about it! The mountain section of I-70 is the most dangerous and unpredictable stretch of highway these truckers face. Combined with the wear and tear on their vehicles and themselves, I am sure most would rather not drive this route. Instead, they could drive their truck right onto a train’s flatbed, go to sleep and wake up in Grand Junction or Denver ready to go!Rather than battle through the mountains, the stretch would become more consistent and the drivers would get the required rest they need while traveling through the most difficult area of their trip.The economic benefits could be great. I am not sure how many of the 10,000,000 vehicles that pass through the I-70 corridor is tractor-trailer traffic going to Kansas or Utah. However, if each truck would refuel in Colorado rather than just passing through, this would represent a significant revenue stream at 250-plus gallons per truck in addition to the $250 rail fee. Also, wear and tear on I-70 would be reduced, along with the winter road closures due to jackknifed vehicles in the road.2. Build a passenger rail line from Fort Collins to Pueblo and DIA to Grand Junction. Commit to a statewide line and start building the tunnels and bridges as soon as possible. There is plenty of technology out there to accommodate at least 75 percent of the proposed route. And yes, it will probably take 20 to 30 years to reach the final build-out of the project.Once it is built, a father in Grand Junction can take his kids to a ball game at Coors Field for the day, or a family from Fort Collins to Pueblo can go skiing at numerous ski resorts and be home for dinner. Tourists visiting our state will only have to board a train to the High Country, and their luggage will meet them at the hotel.This line should also function as the delivery mechanism for the resort communities restaurants and other businesses that require daily shipments from the Front Range. This not only creates another revenue stream, but reduces non-trailer truck traffic as well.3. Turn I-70 into a toll road. The I-70 corridor is very unique and needs to be managed and maintained. A toll of $5 to $10 per vehicle should be considered to generate revenue and discourage unnecessary traffic through the corridor. With the implementation of the previous proposals, truck traffic could be restricted to necessary deliveries during appropriate weather and conditions.I understand that each proposal has enormous consequences, expenses and red tape for everyone including local residents, businesses, local unions, federal unions, county governments, state government, federal government, and anyone else who has an opinion. However, I think it would be interesting to see how these proposals would cost out in all areas of construction and revenue, and if everyone can work towards a common goal we can turn the I-70 corridor into the functional anchor of our economy that it should be.Jeffrey K. ChristensenVailGobbled upDear Mr. (Jamie) Cole (creative editor of the magazine Progressive Farmer):You pretty much set our little valley on its ear by listing Eagle County as No. 9 best rural place to live. We are sitting here up to our eyeballs in the battle to save even a little bit of undeveloped land for the future, and I feel your article was very insensitive to our struggle to preserve at least a vestige of our agricultural heritage. Yes, we have good schools, and they are hard pressed to deal with the influx of pilgrims, both American and otherwise that have come here for a variety of reasons, most notably not ranching. Our last major open space on the I-70 corridor, our gateway to the town of Eagle, is currently undergoing heated debate as to whether it should house big box development and hundreds of homes to accommodate all these quality-of-life seekers. Our local paper featured a front page article (ironically, just before yours) that portrayed our huge problems with drugs and crime because of the influx of just about everyone. We have a Florida developer waiting in the wings to house over a last stand of winter range for about 300 head of elk who literally will perish when it is developed, as there is nowhere else to run. We have a foreign developer just biding his time before he eats up the rest of our pastures to benefit his personal international fortune.I don’t know who your readers are, but if I they are honest-to-God farmers making a living off the land, I would have to tell them not to believe a thing they read in your magazine. You appear to be based in the Southeast, and probably most readers will never see Eagle County (as obviously you haven’t either), but I would encourage you to never again use the research group that fed you this incredibly misleading information.The only valid conclusions from your magazine’s article is the statement that you “hope our elected officials will recognize the value of what we have and work to preserve it.” Unless they act, we will look (and live) like the rest of rural America that has been gobbled up by progress. You should come visit us before it’s all gone, and perhaps a future article should more correctly explore the extinction of the American ranching lifestyle.Rosie ShearwoodEagleTrue talentI recently permanently moved here with my teenage daughter from Miami Beach, Florida. She is a truly talented singer. I’m not saying this as a “stage parent.” She has auditioned for Broadway casting calls. She made top 10 for a traveling production of a major Broadway musical out of 3,000 children. Unfortunately, company funding did not go through and the touring company did not materialize.My daughter has participated in several local community productions here in Vail. The children in the productions felt bad about themselves when my daughter was given solo parts. In following productions those solos were no longer offered to her in order to make the average singers happy. It is better to get rid of one extremely talented child then to have 75 children and 500 parents and relatives in a closely knit community mad at you because the one makes the ordinary feel bad about themselves. These children in Vail for the most part would never go to an open casting call for professional productions because the professional casting directors do not play around. If you are average, they tell you, and say you are not good enough.The one-time professionals that were on Broadway that now run these local money-making businesses have simply sold out. They should be ashamed of themselves.William GreensherAvonHorrible accidentLast night, when leaving the Vail Post Office at dusk, as I was turning east onto Frontage Road, I remember thinking to myself, “it’s really hard to see.” I was having trouble differentiating the car lights on the Frontage Road from those on I-70. Little did I know, that after entering the Frontage Road and driving a bit, I would witness a terrible accident. A young man hit by a car.I will never forget the vision of seeing the boy fall to the side of the road. It is etched in my memory forever. My heart goes out to this young man and his family and also to the poor girl driving the car that hit him. Their lives are all forever changed in what seemed to be one little innocent second.During this busy time of year in the valley, it’s quite common to see pedestrians walking alongside the road, often talking, carrying all sorts of gear, crossing the road in improper places, oblivious to traffic. It can be very difficult to see when both driving and walking after dark! I know that I hope to ever see an accident like the one I witnessed last night. So I’m writing this to hopefully raise awareness for drivers to slow down and be more cautious and for pedestrians to please be aware of traffic and cross the road. Christy KitsonBack on feetThis is just a quick thank you to all of my friends, and associates, who helped me get back on my feet after a nasty compound spiral fracture in which I was bed-ridden. These past five months were tough, but your efforts have made my recovery possible. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart. I hope to someday be able to return the kindness you all showed in all your efforts. Thank you very much!Special thanks to all of the following: my daughter Karli; Cheryl Browne; John and Suzanne Warnock; Graham and Sue Huseby; Dan and Nolvia Griffith; John and Jenny Wahrer; June Sadler and Company; Clayton McRory and Kari Koehler; Tim Boyle and Deb Nicholson; Mike Ellis; Randy Guerriero; Saundra Slappy and Patrick; Staci Kalet and David Hunt; Brandon and Yvonne Dodds; Tim Savage; Sue Poisson; Loraine Howenstein; Dr. Peter James and Associates; Dr. Jeff Thaxton and staff; Dr. Bruce Wignall, D.C.; Sue Aetord-RN CWOCN; Jan Livergood-High Country Acupuncture.Karl SchererVail, Colorado


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