Sustainability Council to host panel about alternative transportation in the Yampa Valley | SteamboatToday.com

Sustainability Council to host panel about alternative transportation in the Yampa Valley

Ben Ingersoll

— On Tuesday night, the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council will host a three-person panel to explore what alternative transportation may look like in Steamboat Springs in the near and distant future. The council also will hold a green car show, showcasing the latest in environmentally friendly vehicles on the market today.

Sustainability Council Program and Marketing Director Andy Kennedy said the premier topic the panel will pore over during the one-hour discussion involves the Colorado Department of Transportation's high-speed rail project, which is set to break ground in 2016.

On hand to give statewide insight on the project, as well as other topics during the panel discussion, will be state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, as well as CDOT Project Manager David Krutsinger and Steamboat Springs Transit Manager Jonathan Flint, who carries extensive rail experience from his time working in Alaska, Kennedy said.

As a resort town in Northwest Colorado, Kennedy said, the mode of transportation in and out of Steamboat Springs is overwhelmingly by car. As tourists and full-time residents intertwine, the number of vehicles increases, and with no signs of it slowing down, the Sustainability Council is looking to heighten awareness on how Steamboat's transportation future could take shape.

"We're going to have to take cars off the road," Kennedy said. "It isn't a question. It's getting to the point where we don't have parking for them. We're really just highlighting the future of transportation in-state with alternative car."

The Sustainability Council and panel will examine if Steamboat — a hot spot for tourism but also still a rural destination — could implement some of the same alternative transportation strategies as bigger, less remote communities, such as those on the Front Range or the Interstate 70 corridor. Some ideas include a high-speed train, light rails, shared cars and bikes.

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The green car show will precede panel discussion. The five models, though very different in design, all represent gas-efficient, cleaner modes of transportation.

The Sustainability Council will display Executive Director Sarah Jones' Ford C-MAX, which gets about 42 miles per gallon in the city and can be driven either solely on electric or with an electric boost.

The show also will feature the all-electric Nissan Leaf and a standard Toyota Prius. A bit of a twist will be a hydro-powered Hummer. A biodiesel-powered car rounds out the five on display.

Networking and the car show begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Steamboat Springs Community Center, with the panel discussion going from 6 to 7 p.m.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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