Dear Roger Marolt, your column (“Broadening Perspectives and Expanding Options Instead of Airport Runways,” Aspen Daily News, September 6) suggested moving air traffic from Aspen to Rifle. Here are some things to consider.
1. During the ASE Vision process, Pitkin County Executive Jon Peacock contacted the Rifle Airport Authority regarding the idea that transportation service for travelers to Aspen could go through Rifle. They weren’t interested.
2. If we return to Airport Design Group II, County Councilors have said we will not lose any of our airline service. It drops to zero.
3. We were also told that the Federal Aviation Administration will no longer fund airport improvements if we move to ADG II. The track will soon require a complete reconstruction. We can’t afford to pay for this so the airport will be forced to close if we don’t move to ADG III.
4. Moving operations to Rifle would not affect greenhouse gas emissions from air travel generated by Aspen at all. This would only shift the pollution generated by the local tourist trade to another, poorer community. This is not a pretty picture of environmental social injustice à la Aspen.
5. Ditto the imposition of through-traffic effects on lower valley communities between Aspen and Rifle. Aspen has a not-so-pretty history of trying to retain benefits while imposing the burden of its economic activity on others. Witness the community’s failure to house its workforce under the banner of maintaining open spaces and natural values for the few people who can afford to stay. It’s been over 50 years now of what some would call just another example of the European colonialist mentality that drove the Utes out. Now add to that that Glenwood and the Mid Valley bear the brunt of the extra traffic that would pass through and pollute these communities while Aspen reaps the benefits. Not a pretty picture.
6. You shouldn’t assume Aspen can go back to those golden days when it “was by far the greatest mountain resort on the entire planet.” There are many places on this continent and others where you can find equal or better skiing, views, accommodations, entertainment and restaurants. It’s a competitive world out there. You shouldn’t assume that Aspen or Snowmass would continue to thrive if we lost the airport.
Roger, please think about it, my friend. You should support the airport improvement process, not join those trying to slow it down.
Editor’s Note: Vaughn was interviewed Tuesday for an alternate seat on the Pitkin County Airport Advisory Board.