Transit funding in peril, House candidates say |

Transit funding in peril, House candidates say

Eagle-Vail Republican Heather Lemon and Leadville Democrat Carl Miller are locked in a battle to represent Eagle, Lake and Summit counties, otherwise known as House District 56.

Lemon says part of the region’s transportation future revolves around alternative forms of transportation.

“We should look at alternatives, such as expansion of the regional airports at Eagle and Leadville,” Lemon says. “I support expanding the use of rail both for passengers and freight.”

Miller says alternative forms of transportation are a large part of the state’s future, but the future is probably not now. The state’s $300 million projected budget shortfall will see to that, he says.

“I don’t think the state is in a financial condition to fund anything of that magnitude,” says Miller

Lemon calls Interstate 70 the “lifeblood” of the district.

“The bottlenecks at the Idaho Springs tunnel must be addressed,” Lemon says. “Colorado will continue to grow – Summit and Eagle counties are among the fastest-growing counties in the country.

In the short term, Lemon says, using signs to notify travelers of traffic conditions, “which may encourage some spending while motorists wait.” In the long term, Coloradans need to look at other, direct public systems, like trains or the monorail, to reduce mountain traffic congestion.

Miller says the biggest battle this district faces is from Front Range legislators trying to change the state’s transportation funding formula.

“The battle this year will be fighting to keep the Front Range from changing the formula,” says Miller. “The Front Range wants a bigger piece of that pie.”

Miller says the formula now in place has worked for decades, and he can see no benefit to District 56 by changing it.

“The formula fight will be brutal, but we cannot tolerate that,” Miller says.

“We need to be vigilant in fighting for Department of Transportation spending to maintain and repair I-70. Vail Pass is in terrible shape right now,” Lemon says.

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