Steamboat Springs The Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday afternoon heard from Storm Mountain Express in what’s been an ongoing conversation: the equity of transportation services at Yampa Valley Regional Airport.
Michael Van Vliet, a co-owner of Storm Mountain Express, spoke about his company being denied the ability to solicit walk-up or not previously registered passengers from the Hayden airport to Steamboat Springs.
In the airports three classes of transportations services, which were instituted in 2007, Storm Mountain Express is a Class 2 provider. It has a counter inside the airport for which it pays a rental fee and returns a portion of its revenue to the airport, but it can’t solicit walk-up traffic.
Go Alpine is the lone Class 1 provider at the airport and can provide walk-up service. It also pays fees for a counter and returns a percentage of its revenue.
During the course of Tuesday’s discussion, county and airport officials stated that the contract for a Class 1 provider requires the company to attest to its ability to legally provide walk-up service.
Charles Kimball, an attorney present on Storm Mountain Express’ behalf, stated that it’s his opinion that the federal authority granted to Storm Mountain Express allows for walk-up service.
Go Alpine, which also operates a local taxi service, holds federal and state authorities, according to owner Lisa Adamo, who was present Tuesday.
Storm Mountain Express missed a deadline in the request for proposal process earlier this year and was not able to apply to be a Class 1 provider.
Of the more than 35 people at Tuesday’s meeting, the majority were employed by Storm Mountain Express or there in support of its request. Adamo said she decided not to request supporters of Go Alpine to attend.
“All I’m asking is that my employees can have benefits and can live in Steamboat Springs,” Van Vliet said about the his business's need for the revenue generated by walk-up traffic.
The commissioners expressed frustration with the system that allowed for only one Class 1 provider and said they’ll take more time to consider the legal issues.
“I would ask that the public show a little bit of patience and understanding,” Commissioner Tim Corrigan said.
To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com