Compressed Natural Gas to Fuel Roaring Fork Buses
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo.- Governor John Hickenlooper and several local elected officials gathered today at the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority's (RFTA) new compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station. The facility is part of a $16.5 million project called VelociRFTA, the first rural bus rapid transit service in the country. Rather than diesel, CNG will be used to fuel all 18 buses of the VelociRFTA fleet. Officials say considering all of the benefits, switching to CNG was an easy decision. "Compressed natural gas is less expensive, it's cleaner, creates jobs in Colorado, and we don't have to send billions of dollars to foreign dictatorships," said Hickenlooper. "It's a quadruple win." CNG is a domestic fuel that is typically more stable in price and more readily available than diesel. RFTA CEO Dan Blankenship says as diesel prices continue to rise, the switch to CNG will save the company more and more money. "Compared to what we would be paying for diesel, which we are currently paying $3.40 a gallon for, we should save $200,000, and we would still be covering all of our cost for the CNG and for debt service on all of the CNG infrastructure that we just installed," said Blankenship. Blankenship added that VelociRFTA buses will provide quicker commutes and several new amenities, such as free WiFi. Currently, RFTA annually serves over four million commuters in Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Carbondale, Basalt, Snowmass Village, Aspen, Silt and Rifle. Blankenship hopes to have VelociRFTA open to the public by early September.