Updated election results from Tuesday left Dan Blankenship, CEO of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, feeling more confident that a proposed tax hike to benefit the agency will pass.
But he said he won’t be comfortable with the close vote on ballot measure 7A, a property tax increase that would add $9.5 million annually to RFTA’s coffers, until clerks in Pitkin, Garfield and Eagle counties certify the results as final. That could be a week away.
It’s not like a typical campaign with candidates and someone concedes,” Blankenship said.
Still, despite a smattering of outstanding votes in the form of absentee ballots and those cast by members of the military, 7A looked Wednesday to be on a solid, albeit narrow, path for approval.
As expected, the updated numbers Tuesday night into Wednesday adhered to previous tallies from the Colorado Secretary of State. The tax measure, which would cost the owner of a home valued at $500,000 roughly an additional $81 per year, had earned 4,699 votes in Pitkin County versus 4,204 against, or 53 to 47 percent.
Blankenship was pleased that the gap widened slightly overnight in RFTA’s favor in Garfield County, which recorded 4,507 in favor and 4,144 against (52-48 percent). But the close vote in Eagle County got even closer, standing as of Wednesday evening at 1,739 for to 1,719 against, a loss of 32 votes for RFTA over preliminary tallies.
Overall, the vote, which included numerous municipalities in the counties, stood at 10,945 for 7A and 10,067 against it.
“We still feel there’s enough of a margin that we will ultimately win,” Blankenship said.
The tax money would help RFTA replace inconsistent funding that comes from state and federal grants, and allow the agency to replace aging buses with more environmentally friendly vehicles; increased service; improved links to trail systems and the creation of new trails; and safer transit via pedestrian crossings, bike sharing, improved bus stations and additional park-and-ride lots.