Regional SMART Transit
Town of Mountain Village survey supports Smart Transit. Government one step closer to an election.
The Town of Mountain Village, The Town of Telluride, and San Miguel County recently released the results of a transportation survey, which found that most responders are in favor of forming and funding a regional transportation authority.
On behalf of the government entities, the county-wide survey by Keating Research was conducted by telephone from April 25 to May 1 among a cross-section of 200 registered voters in the R-1 School District who are likely to vote in the November election.
“The intent of the phone poll was to provide us with enough information as to the level of support for SMART transit,” said Mountain Village Town Manager Kim Montgomery. “These results certainly point to the idea that the electorate overwhelmingly supports this concept and its possible funding mechanisms.”
The survey found the following:
• San Miguel County voters are optimistic: 73 percent say San Miguel County is heading in the right direction compared to only 13 percent that say wrong direction.
• 80 percent of voters say they support the formation of the San Miguel Regional Transportation Authority, also known as SMART transit, with just 11 percent opposed. In addition, SMART transit received a strong majority support across all key voter groups in San Miguel County: women and men, younger voters, and older voters, registered Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.
• Deemed the most important part of SMART transit is a new bus or shuttle service to workforce or affordable housing. Parking infrastructure, trail maintenance and linkage, and expanded regional transportation are also important.
• Voters show similarly strong support for funding SMART transit with 73 percent supporting a one- quarter of one percent increase in the San Miguel County sales tax rate, which is a sales tax increase of $0.25 on a $100 purchase; 72 percent support a one mill increase in the San Miguel County property tax rate, which is a property tax increase of $8 per $100,000 in assessed value for a residential home.
• Investing in the gondola is vital, with 81 percent supporting the idea of saving a portion of the SMART transit fund to pay for capital improvements and operations and maintenance of the gondola after 2027; 15 percent oppose this idea. In addition, 85 percent agree that all three government entities should reach a decision soon on how to pay for the gondola, so the gondola will continue to operate after 2027; 12 percent oppose this idea.
In lockstep with the November election, Mountain Village, Telluride, and San Miguel County officials are close to signing an intergovernmental agreement that would move them one step closer to taking SMART transit to the voters.
According to all parties involved, an agreement should be reached very soon. Once this occurs, each entity will need to hold two mandatory public meetings in order to formally adopt this agreement.
“This intergovernmental agreement is the product of several years of cooperative work between Telluride, Mountain Village and San Miguel County,” said County Commissioner Joan May. “It’s taken this long to come up with an agreement that we can all get solidly behind, that provides enough certainty for the Regional Transportation Authority framework, while giving enough flexibility to adapt to changing future variables.”
Objectives for forming the SMART transit vary and include enhanced local transportation services, the creation of regional transportation systems, and improved state and federal grant opportunities, to name a few.
The survey’s margin for error is +/- 6.9 percentage points for 200 adults at the 95 percent confidence level.
Nichole Zangara Riley
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