Summit Stage will connect Leadville, Frisco starting Jan. 3 with daily buses
BRECKENRIDGE – Summit Stage is scheduled to begin carting folks between Leadville and Frisco Jan. 3, with Lake County residents and passengers footing the bill. “Lake County and the state stepped up to the plate ready to make this happen,” Summit Stage director John Jones said. Two buses are to depart daily from Leadville, starting at 5:45 a.m. and hitting three stops in town before stopping at Copper and ending at the Frisco Transit Center. A stop at Climax is to be added when the mine reopens. The buses are to begin returning to Leadville at 5:40 p.m. When service begins, capacity is to be 80 people each way; Jones said there’s state funding available for a third bus if demand warrants it. The program is fully funded by state and federal grants, including $200,000 from Colorado Department of Transportation, $85,000 in federal stimulus money and $35,000 from Lake County, according to a previous report. Jones said contributors toward the $35,000 include Colorado Mountain College and the Climax Mine – owned by Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold, among others. Lake County government has made a commitment to cover the difference, Jones said. A study by Lake County in May found that about 967 cars leave the county for Summit daily, between 6-8 a.m.Jones said that with 4,000 “employable people” and only about 2,000 jobs existing in Lake County, “some people in Lake will shift down” to Summit.He also said Eagle County has had a transit system including Lake County for 17 years. Residents of areas such as Blue River in Summit County and communities in Park County are interested in Summit Stage stops as well, but “right now our budget’s so far down it won’t allow us to do that,” Jones said. The folks with Lake County got active and said, “We’re willing to do what it takes to pay the bill,” he said. He said it also helps that Lake County’s population is more consolidated to one area than Park County, where people are distributed among Alma, Fairplay and other areas. Funding for the Lake County transit routes expected to support the program for about three years, according to a previous report. Jones said the county is expected to put a tax increase for transit funding on its November ballot to sustain the service. Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or email@example.com.
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