Letter: We need reliable, sustainable transportation between Moffat and Routt counties

With the local coal plants shutting down and the railway no longer being used to move coal, is there a reason we are not considering a commuter train that utilizes those rails? I have seen people discussing byways and so on, but if Moffat County and Routt County worked together, I feel like this is a practical solution to a lot of the problems the areas are facing.

With the train yard in Phippsburg being a perfect endpoint to the southeast and Craig on the other side where trains could be tidied and turned around already in place, it seems to me like a great option. This would utilize already working tracks, but it would also help create jobs in the area for conductors, maintenance and even some janitorial staff and office workers.

Unlike the current bus that runs in a loop twice a day to Craig, this would take cars off the road but still offer flexibility. With so many people in Oak Creek, Hayden and Craig who climb into individual cars and drive into work five days a week, this would make the roads less congested, relieve anxiety about inclement weather and wildlife, and reduce the number of accidents, as commuter trains are much safer than automobiles.

Even with approximately six loops per day between working hours, emissions would be drastically reduced, not to mention the savings on gas and wear and tear on workers’ vehicles. It seems to me that a monthly flat fee to park and ride would be a great solution.

We all know one of our biggest issues in the area is housing. Something like this would provide easier access to affordable housing. One of the largest hurdles for our working class is getting to and from work. With the flexibility of a park-and-ride train, it would be easier for locals to purchase or rent homes in other areas while still having access to a shorter, less stressful commute.

If this option is in anyway possible, I think the time is now to begin this dialog — to assure time for planning, acquisition of parking space and commuter cars, and applications for necessary grants and funding afforded due to the sustainability of this project, signed by a local hospitality worker.

April Sawyer

Steamboat Springs

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