A RFTA bus in downtown Aspen is pictured in this file photo.


State rural transportation authorities like RFTA will know by March how much of the $79 million in relief package funding will be allocated to them by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

A CDOT spokesperson, Elise Thatcher, said Friday, “We have a good template from the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to move this forward relatively quickly,” and CDOT anticipates having a decision on allocations by March “in order to be able to include input from transit agencies and approval or review by Colorado’s Transportation Commission,” she said.

On Thursday, during its monthly meeting of the board of directors, Dan Blankenship, CEO of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA), said he was hoping for at least as much as the $8.5 million received in 2020 from CARES Act funds for rural transit agencies. The total of ­Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 is about double last year’s CARES Act funding of $39 million, that was designed for this purpose.

Thatcher, Region 3 communications manager for CDOT, said Friday, “The funding will be timed so that transit agencies can spend the money when the allocation announcement is made, with reimbursement later when the contracts are finalized.”

Madeleine Osberger is a contributing editor of the Aspen Daily NewsShe can be reached at madski@aspendailynews.com or on Twitter @Madski99