Robert P. Baker: Bring visitors by train

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Our present commissioners are to be commended for their plodding, workmanlike attention to the affairs of Routt County.

Their long suits are spending endless hours in meetings and carefully paying attention to the issues of the day. Their short suits, conversely, are comprehension of the deeper issues involved in their decisions and imagination.

They made a wrong decision on the location of the new court building because they couldn't comprehend that a justice system means more than putting people in jail, and to place a courthouse next to a jail sends the wrong message entirely in a democratic society, where the courthouse should be among the community and its people. However, that decision has been made.

Now, commissioners are facing decisions in West Routt County that require some degree of imagination and innovation. The small issue is the hauling of coal to the Hayden power plant; the larger issue is a transportation system encompassing that power plant and the county airport.

The commissioners have an opportunity to work toward an integrated rail system that includes the power plant and the airport. Putting tourists on a ski train to Steamboat Springs immediately after they disembark from the plane would not only help to alleviate automobile congestion in Steamboat (no more rental cars and tourist buses), it also would be a fun selling point to attract more tourists.

Could the Steamboat Springs City Council, Ski Corp., the county, the energy company and the railroad work together for this goal? Only with a little imagination.

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