Future of Bustang threatened as lawmakers debate funds

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DENVER -- Bustang launched only last year, but already lawmakers are becoming skeptical.

Bustang is a regional mass-transit service that allows people to commute to Denver from places like Colorado Springs, Boulder and the mountains.

This past week, the Republican-controlled State Senate passed a measure that would shift funding away from Bustang and toward repairing more roads and bridges throughout Colorado.

Republican Sen. John Cooke spoke on the floor of the Senate regarding the issue, citing low ridership numbers.

“Six riders on a $600,000 bus?” Cooke said as he reaffirmed his support for the bill.

Others senators said that since Coloradaons already pay such high vehicle registration fees, that money should be directed toward funding bridges and roads.

The opposition -- made up mostly of Democrats -- spoke out against the bill.

On Saturday, Bustang riders at Union Station said their bus had about 40 to 50 people on it.

“I say keep it, it’s a great system,” said Justin Mitchell, a rider from Frisco.

The Colorado Department of Transportation released a statement that read:

"We are opposed to the bill. It would have the effect of eliminating Bustang and significantly impacting the division of transit and rail.

We strongly believe that CDOTs role is to provide choice in how people travel as well as building and maintaining our roads.

Surveys where the public is in support of transit and Bustang supports that."

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