Highlighting workforce transit needs with Transportation Secretary Buttigieg
This morning I was pleased to join community leaders and elected officials to meet Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg in Glenwood Springs as he shared information on how Coloradans will benefit from the bipartisan Federal Infrastructure Law and toured the area via one of our Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) electric buses.
Buttigieg noted that RFTA is “pioneering electric vehicle technology in their bus fleets,” adding that the agency is “a great example of how important modern transit is to connecting workers in rural areas.”
In our conversation, I stressed for the Secretary the importance of infrastructure and transportation investments to better serve residents who live in the more than 70 mobile home parks in the central-mountain region. Often, transit stops or options are not convenient for our working-class commuters, and increasing access is a sure way to increase ridership.
Latinos in the Western Slope identified improving and expanding public transportation as a priority in our 2021 Colorado Latino Policy Agenda report.
The group on hand to visit with Secretary Buttigieg Friday included Glenwood Springs Mayor Jonathan Godes, Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Shoshana M. Lew, Protégete Director Beatriz Soto, and Sens. John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet.
Bennet’s support for rural Colorado and issues that are vital to the Latino community in the central mountains earned him the first endorsement of the 2022 election cycle from Voces Unidas Action Fund.
At a stop on Interstate 70 on Thursday, Secretary Buttigieg thanked Rep. Joe Neguse and Colorado’s Senators for their support of the Infrastructure Bill, adding “it’s not an exaggeration to say that their support for this historic, landmark legislation will directly lead to improvements in the daily commutes, the everyday life, the job opportunities, and the bank accounts of every Coloradan.”
He also noted the vulnerability of I-70 through Glenwood Canyon to climate change, adding that transportation is the largest contributor of greenhouse gasses in the U.S. economy. Infrastructure investments can help make transportation a big part of the solution in taking on the issue.
“The mudslides that occurred there last summer, triggered by wildfires, caused enormous destruction to property and to life and to our supply chains, forcing truck drivers to have to decide between 3-hour detours or being stuck,” he said.
Alex Sánchez is the president and CEO of Voces Unidas de las Montañas and Voces Unidas Action Fund, two Latino-created, Latino-led advocacy organizations working in Lake, Summit, Eagle, Pitkin and Garfield counties.