I have more bad news for anyone and everyone in the hospitality industry. As unlikely as the imminent redevelopment of the Aspen/Pitkin Airport might seem, decisions about to be made in the next few weeks or months have the potential to lock in an uncomfortable future.

A major citizen review was recently completed and presented to the Pitkin County commissioners. A key recommendation regarding the location of a new, wider runway was made, and the reasons for that decision were perfectly valid. However, the new preferred runway location sets off a chain of other adjustments, and the cumulative effect is the shrinking of the area available for the proposed new terminal and ancillary functions.

To get a sense of the new terminal location, the front of the current building is about where the back wall of the new building will be. Except for the arrival lanes along the front of the terminal (and a covered waiting area for RFTA), every other use having to do with ground transportation will be moved to one end or the other of the new terminal.

Hotel shuttles, taxis, and limousines get the least consideration in this shuffle. According to the new “vision” the focus of the county should be to, “prioritize the accessibility and convenience of public transportation” with consideration “of mass transport possibilities including light rail, monorail, gondola and greater utilization of RFTA, if feasible.”

Is there really a need to tell airport planners that mass transit has almost no relevance to transportation to and from an airport terminal?

Here we must pause and remember that both local newspapers are dead set against the use of their “letters” section for detailed public policy discussions (imposing limits of 250-400 words per letter). If you would like to read more, please move to the internet and the evansforcommissioner.com website.

Jeffrey Evans