The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is easy to overlook when it comes to elections for the fifteen board director positions. The non-partisan seats don’t draw attention a large part of the time and the fury over past unfinished promises has diminished. It’s unfortunate that voters aren’t more interested in RTD since it’s ranked the fourth largest government in Colorado, with a budget that rivals that of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The difference is that RTD provides bus and train service for maybe 3% of the population while CDOT pretty solidly serves the transportation needs of 100%.
RTD encompasses all of Boulder, Broomfield, Denver and Jefferson counties, as well as a portion of Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas and Weld. The transit agency is funded with its own 1 percent sales tax within its jurisdiction, which includes nearly 3 million metro-area residents.
Since the RTD seats are non-partisan, potential candidates have to get 250 eligible voter signatures from their respective district to be nominated on to the ballot. If they fail to acquire the necessary signatures, like other political offices, they can file an affidavit to run as a write-in.
Eight board director positions are on this November’s ballot because RTD districts are staggered. One of those seats (District I – Longmont) is prematurely on this year’s ballot because the declared candidate in 2020 failed to get sufficient signatures so the county commissioners had to appoint someone. When that occurs, the seat is then up for election at the next general election for just the remaining two-year term.
This year isn’t playing out much differently. Four out of the eight elections will be write-in votes only and in two of the races there is no challenge.
District B write-ins – Steven Gibson or JoyAnn Keener Ruscha
District C write-in – Michael Guzman
District L write-in – Ian Hardwick
District N write-ins – Peggy Catlin or Pat Lawrence
Ballots in Districts I and J will list a single candidate without any challenger. Districts K and O are the only districts each offering two candidates printed on the ballot.
This news comes at a time when we know that RTD is looking at a 2024 election to either eliminate revenue limits under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) or go after a tax hike. I served eight years as an RTD Board Director so I speak from first-hand experience, the last thing we need to do is give RTD more money.
Natalie Menten is a longtime activist from Lakewood, and a former RTD director for District M.
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