Why Avon should pay | VailDaily.com

Why Avon should pay

Debbie Buckley
Vail CO, Colorado

Larry Brooks, Ron Wolfe and Amy Phillips all make a good case for Traer Creek’s responsibility to pay for transit in the Village at Avon. According to the letter of the law ” that is the 1998 agreement with Traer Creek ” that is certainly true. The metro district is obligated to pay for the bus service, but not until they decide to start it. If the Avon Town Council chooses to make this funding decision based on the letter of the law they will get no argument from me. But there are a lot of other reasons why Avon should continue to fund the much-needed bus to Wal-Mart and Buffalo Ridge.

First of all the Avon Town Council has already demonstrated support for environmentally friendly practices by purchasing wind power and vehicles that use alternative energy sources. Public transportation is vital for a cleaner environment. Discontinuing a popular bus route that serviced 56,500 riders last year is not friendly to the environment. Although some of those riders will walk, most will probably drive (especially in the winter). Avon can continue to support environmentally friendly practices, which will benefit the whole town in the long run, by giving those 56,500 riders an alternative to driving their own car.

Second, Avon has repeatedly demonstrated a commitment to improving affordable housing opportunities in Avon. In fact, Avon set up a special affordable housing fund in the 2007 budget, which had a fund balance of close to a million dollars when the budget was approved. One of the goals in Avon’s Comprehensive Plan is to “provide a workforce housing program that incorporates both rental and ownership opportunities for residents.” A good public transportation system is essential to the success of any affordable housing project. The units at Buffalo Ridge provide rental opportunities that are affordable for the people who live and work in Avon, but without the bus their value as workforce housing is diminished. Avon should fund this bus to support the affordable housing that is essential to the town.

Third, this bus route affects the availability of workers to other Avon businesses. According to the recent study by Eagle County, the workforce is shrinking. I personally know people who live in Buffalo Ridge and work in the non-Traer Creek part of Avon. Avon should fund this bus route to help all of Avon’s businesses hire locals as part of their workforce.

Ron Wolfe encouraged Buffalo Ridge residents to take their petition and complaints to the next Traer Creek Metro District meeting in May. Most workers who need that bus are at one of their jobs when the metro district meets. The Town Council should not abdicate the responsibility they have to continue to negotiate with Traer Creek for some contribution to this bus route. The people of this town elected you to represent them. It is irresponsible to use the working person as a pawn in the on-going battle with the developer.

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The No. 1 reason I voted for this route last year was because it is just the right thing to do. It bothered me to see Avon residents walking down the road between Wal-Mart and Chapel Square with grocery bags and children in tow. It bothered me that we were funding buses for our visitors and treating our residents so poorly. Larry Brooks once said that it is his job to find money in the budget to fund the priorities of the council. I hope the town council will reconsider and make this route a funding priority for the good of the whole town.

Debbie Buckley is a former Avon town councilor.

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