Political hand wringing gives you nothing but sore fingers. I’d suggest improving your political state of mind by using the gift of your hands to help build a better world – starting with our own community. It all begins at home.
The dysfunction at the national level can best be corrected from the bottom up. My commitment to this principal finds me serving as a Fraser Town Trustee, as President of the Upper Colorado River Watershed Group and as Project Manager for the Grand Huts Association. The town also allows me to represent it on the Northwest Council of Governments, at the Colorado Department of Transportation regional planning meetings and at ColoRail meetings – a passenger rail advocacy group.
I cannot thank my community enough for allowing me a place at these tables. My gratitude is also extended because these efforts help me remain optimistic about our future in the face of the federal government’s present dysfunction.
I joined Winter Park Mayor Jimmy Lehman in Golden on May 2 for a meeting of the Compact of Colorado Communities – a group of local governments seeking ways to alleviate climate change. The same day the Colorado Legislature passed a climate bill designed to move the state toward a sustainable future. The effects of a warming climate are particularly severe in our Arctic climate. Witness our decreased snowpack, oft recurring drought and wildfires.
On Apr. 27 I joined Winter Park Transit Manager Michael Koch for the ColoRail Annual meeting near the light rail station in Downtown Englewood. We discussed a possible “Moffat Rail Corridor” with Robert Eaton, Amtrak’s head of local government relations. The concept is to restore passenger service to communities on the existing line from Denver to Craig as a common sense approach to help alleviate I-70 and Berthoud Pass traffic jams. I learned the run time from Denver to Steamboat Springs is 6 hours, 10 minutes – about twice the drive time but offering a passage not threatened by congestion and weather. Destination travelers would enjoy a rail transit through our beautiful mountains instead of sitting in an I-70 traffic jam.
Eaton suggested the ski train might be split in Fraser, with destination travelers going on to points west. This past winter saw record numbers on the ski train, including full trains on Friday when groups booked trips to Winter Park.
The state funded Front Range Rail Commission continues to make progress toward a rail corridor serving cities from Pueblo to Ft. Collins. Wyoming has asked the effort be expanded north to Cheyenne. A similar Commission could be formed to study the feasibility of the Moffat Corridor.
Grand County has no end of non-profits and political groups seeking help from locals who will share in the effort to build a better future.
Economic boom times are bringing many changes to our valley. One way to don your local political dancing shoes is to simply attend local meetings. Town and Grand County web sites have schedules and agendas for local governance and planning committees. Our excellent local representatives enjoy nothing more than input from citizens.
I sincerely hope you might roll up your sleeves and join us the satisfying work of building a better community. There is much to be done.