PARKER, Colo. (KDVR) — One town in Colorado wants to give its voters the right to choose if they want to stay with RTD or not. To be able to opt in or out of the transportation district, the Town of Parker must go through lawmakers at the Capitol.
The RTD station in Parker was quiet Friday afternoon. Parket Mayor Jeff Toborg said things have been like that for a while.
“That’s typically how RTD is in Parker,” Toborg said. “You know, we’ve got the P buses that run from Parker down to Civic Center three times in the morning and three times coming home. So we’re before that window, and then we’ve got the 483 that runs sporadically through here out to the trains. But again, that’s sporadic and not many people who are trying to get around Parker are interested in going out to the trains.”
RTD paused services on the P buses and 483 routes from spring 2020 until the summer and fall of 2021.
The mayor said the town isn’t getting the services they need from the district for the amount of money RTD gets from the town.
“In 2020, we hit about $13 million and in 2021 we hit $15.1 million (in tax dollars). So it has been going up a million, a million and then in 2021, went up by $2 million. So, continuing to get great money from the taxpayers of Parker without providing services,” Toborg said.
This is not the first time a town has gone this route. Castle Rock successfully opted out of RTD in 2005. Just last year, Parker tried to get a similar measure passed at the Capitol but the bill’s House sponsor withdrew the bill after hearing RTD testify.
In a statement, an RTD public relations specialist said they have not taken a position this year’s bill but plan to discuss it at their next board meeting:
“Since a similar bill from 2021 was introduced and postponed indefinitely by the General Assembly in the spring of 2021, RTD has responded positively with action to ensure that Parker residents receive value for their tax dollars. Specifically, RTD reinstated Route 483 in June 2021 after pandemic-related suspension. Additionally, RTD reinstated the Route P in September and extended FlexRide service in the town of Parker with the most recent service change, in January. This reinstated service represents the two primary routes delivered in the town’s boundaries. Additionally, many Parker residents use RTD’s Park-n-Ride lots to use light rail service adjacent to the town of Parker. Finally, RTD provides robust Access-a-Ride services to the residents of Parker who need additional assistance due to a disability.RTD
FOX31 reached out to this year’s Senate sponsor to see what support is like for the measure this year. He did not have time to chat about it, but the mayor said the town is doing some leg work to get more lawmakers on board this time around.
The current deal lasts until 2050, with money collected through a 1% retail sales tax that occurs within the transit district.