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Dec 18, 2009 2:16 AM by Andy Koen

Plan to save FREX moves forward

It looks like the Front Range Express transit system (FREX) will be saved for another year. A plan to fund the commuter bus route for 2010 cleared a major hurdle in Denver Thursday as the Colorado Transportation Commission gave its approval to the transit system to sell up to nine busses.

The state and the Pikes Peak Rural Transit Authority co-own the system's 19 bus fleet with the state owning an 80 percent stake and PPRTA 20 percent.  The PPRTA must also give its approval to sell the busses.

The sale is expected to generate around a million dollars to cover operating expenses for 2010. It's a short term fix while more permanent funding sources are considered.

El Paso County Commissioner Wayne Williams served on the transit task force that created FREX and has been involved in the plans to rescue the system.  He says one permanent funding option may be money generated by higher state vehicle registration taxes.

"The FASTER legislation, $10 million per year [is] dedicated to transit," Williams said.  "They have not decided how to allocate that, but presuming that our area received some share of that, that might be a source of funding."

Williams says other long term options may include cutting funding for local service routes or waiting for higher sales tax revenue.

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