RTD Board of Directors elections 2022, District C: Michael Guzman

The District C director represents northwest Denver, including Highland, LoDo, Elyria-Swansea, City Park and South Federal.

An RTD bus pulls away from a stop on 47th Avenue in Montbello. Aug. 10, 2021. JoyAnn Keener Ruscha.

An RTD bus pulls away from a stop on 47th Avenue in Montbello. Aug. 10, 2021. JoyAnn Keener Ruscha.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Nathaniel Minor, CPR News

In District C, Michael Guzman is the only candidate and will replace former board chair Angie Rivera-Malpiede. He is running as a write-in.

What’s your elevator pitch for why voters should choose you?

The RTD board needs diverse representatives from Colorado at the table. I am a Cafe supervisor and a Denver Native. I ride RTD and want to represent my community to serve the community and help make changes to our public transit system so it works for us in a sustainable, equitable and accessible way.

What is the biggest problem facing RTD right now, and what would you do to fix it?

We need to work to return services to the region, increase ridership and make thoughtful investment to make our public transportation sustainable into the future.

As it emerges from the pandemic, RTD has prioritized transit service aimed at low-income and minority communities. Some once-popular routes that served wealthy areas remain suspended. Do you agree with this approach?

Yes

Explain your reasoning.

In the face of unprecedented challenges, transportation for the communities that were most affected makes sense. Access to transport for work, medical care and grocery shopping is a necessity. Especially, for communities that may not have the easiest access to private or rental vehicles. That doesn’t mean that RTD can’t or won’t make changes in the future.

What should RTD do to make passengers feel safer?

There is no easy answer. The new Chief of Police should make his assessments and recommendations to the board for consideration.

Do you use public transit in your life now?

Yes

If yes, how often? What do you use it for? If not, why not?

All the time. I use it to visit family, go downtown, get home from work. I can’t usually take it to work, I start before the nearest routes. I use if for exploring or getting to and from events and especially to DIA. It makes a lot of sense, I am not driving so I don’t have to worry about fuel, parking, or traffic. I use the extra time to chill and arrive ready to be present in the moment.

Should RTD encourage cities to build more dense development that could yield higher ridership?

Did not answer.

Explain your reasoning.

I am not sure. I think, denser population leads to the need for a great public transit system. Should we “encourage” this? I don’t know. The RTD board exists for the purpose of transportation, not city planning. I do however think, it is part of the cities where RTD makes connections and should work together to improve the connections RTD is charged with providing.

RTD’s short-term financial picture has stabilized, but there are no plans to expand service in the foreseeable future. Should RTD ask voters for a tax increase to enable that?

Did not answer.

Explain your reasoning.

Again, I don’t have all of the information at my disposal to answer this question. I want to be part of that conversation and advocate for what my community wants, fight for what my community needs. However, as one of 15 directors we have to work as a region to serve the greatest good. I need to learn more about the financial decisions before I can make any decision for District C.

Should state government contribute more funding to RTD in order to expand service?

Yes

Explain your reasoning.

I believe so. Does that mean they will, I have no idea. We can ask, but we must do our part as riders to support funding and use of RTD services so that it is a relevant and necessary ask.

Should RTD continue to save money toward the Boulder-Longmont train, and other unfinished FasTracks projects?

Yes

Explain your reasoning.

Honestly, RTD should always find money savings to provide improved services. Although, the money must be prioritized and spent according to greatest need.

Should RTD reduce or eliminate its fares?

Did not answer.

Explain your reasoning.

I know that RTD has reasonable and discounted fares, at the moment. I loved the no fare clean air during August. Jump on/jump off very cool. I used it all month. Is it sustainable? Can it be? These are questions that I would consider, before any such decision. How do we get there? What would it take? I don’t know, but I am willing to have a difficult conversation about it.

Should RTD do more to better meet the needs of the disability community?

Yes

Explain your reasoning.

Of Course! Of every community. What and How? I don’t know. I would look to and listen to the communities that are in my district for recommendations, suggestions and needs; then advocate strongly for my community. Public Transportation is meant to be for EVERYONE.

Find your district here.

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