Cripple Creek/Victor officials Awaiting Word On Expanded Shuttle Service





Cripple Creek/Victor officials awaiting word on expanded shuttle service. Cripple Creek, Victor and southern Teller leaders are still awaiting the final verdict on a significant transportation grant, administered by the state, which could offer big transit improvements for local residents and casino workers.

If successful, the trek between Cripple Creek and Victor could become easier next year, with daily shuttle service to occur between both communities. Also, the city’s current shuttle service around town may get extended until 2 a.m. and passengers may reap the benefits of better buses and equipment.

City officials were hoping to make an announcement later last week regarding a several hundred thousand dollar program, involving a collaborative effort among the cities of Cripple Creek and Victor, the Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mining Company, Community of Caring and other local agencies.

Public Works Director Greg Severance attended a meeting last week in Grand Junction during which Colorado Department of Transportation officials were scheduled to finalize the awards. But the final announcement never came due to some bureaucratic delays. On the upside, the feds may put more dollars into the program which could help Cripple Creek. “All indications are still pretty good,” said City Administrator Ray White, who wasn’t overly concerned about the delays.

However, the administrator said the amount of money the communities receive will determine the extent of their transportation program, expected to kick off in 2013. He said the big new changes deal with the addition of daily, fixed shuttle service routes between Cripple Creek and Victor and possibly extended hours for the local service around town.

The program is offered through the 5311 Rural Public Transportation Assistance Grant Program, consisting of mostly federal government dollars. It is part of a large-scale transportation/rail funding effort available to rural communities.

The idea of a more expanded shuttle and transportation system for the southern Teller region was pitched last summer by Mary Bielz and Ted Borden of the Aspen Mine Center, who are members of the Teller Transportation Task Force. “Transportation is a huge thing,” said Bielz, who has cited the expanded shuttle service system as critical to the region’s economic development efforts. Originally, the transportation task force proposed a nearly $400,000 program.

Initially, several members of the Cripple Creek City Council were skeptical about the program until they learned that the town’s overall transportation costs may actually get reduced and local service would probably improve. Under the new approach, Cripple Creek would be the main operator of the system. Victor has participated financially, along with CC&V. Community of Caring, meanwhile, has contributed money for planning and in the hiring of a consultant