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Telephone Town Hall Engages Citizens in Regional Transit discussion


Telephone Town Hall Engages Citizens in Regional Transit Discussion

Colorado Springs, Colo. (Dec. 1, 2010)?Telephones across the Pikes Peak region will ring on Wednesday, Dec. 8 as the Future of Regional Transit Study team conducts an innovative telephone town hall from 7 to 8 p.m. to engage citizens about the role of regional public transit services.

A random sample of 40,000 residents will be called beginning at 6:45 p.m. and invited to participate in the telephone town hall.  Interested citizens who do not receive a call, but wish to join in, may call toll-free, 1-877-229-8493, Ext. 16138#, at 7 p.m., Dec. 8.  Citizens may also email questions to the panelists anytime during the conference to info@FutureOfRegionalTransit.com

Representatives from Mountain Metropolitan Transit (MMT) and the Future of Regional Transit Steering Committee will provide information about the study and answer questions during the one-hour conference. Moderating the discussion will be longtime Colorado Springs radio reporter Mark Goldberg of Citadel Broadcasting (KVOR AM news radio, KKFM Classic Rock, KATC Cat Country, KCSF The Sports Animal, KKMG Magic FM and KKPK The Peak).

The purpose of the Future of Regional Transit Study is to develop a recommendation for a more solid regional decision-making and funding structure for regional transit.

Over the past two years, City funding for transit operations has been reduced from $11.9 million in 2008 to $2.6 million in 2010.  As a result, transit service has been cut approximately in half, significantly affecting those who rely on the service for work, school, and medical appointments. The balance of local funding is provided by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA), which includes Colorado Springs residents as well as residents from unincorporated El Paso County, Manitou Springs, Green Mountain Falls, and Ramah.  Those non-Colorado Springs residents contribute funding for transit service without being represented in the transit system governance and decision-making process.

MMT is a division of the Colorado Springs Public Works Department that provides fixed-route and demand-responsive transit service for the Pikes Peak region.  MMT is currently the only provider of fixed-route bus service in the Pikes Peak region.  In addition to bus routes within the City of Colorado Springs, MMT provides service to Manitou Springs, the City of Fountain, and to parts of El Paso County.  In addition, MMT offers FrontRange Express (FREX) commuter bus service between Colorado Springs and Denver and Ute Pass Express commuter bus service to the communities along Highway 24.

Steering committee members include representatives from each of the municipalities and jurisdictions within the study area, other government agencies, community organizations and citizen groups. The committee will provide its recommendation, which will include a plan to implement the recommendation, to the City of Colorado Springs City Council in February 2011.

The federal grant used to fund this study can only be used for transit planning, not operations or other municipal public works needs.The Federal Transit Administration grant provided 80% of the study costs, with the City contributing the remaining 20%. For more information about the Future of Regional Transit Study, visit the study Web site: www.FutureofRegionalTransit.com.