RTD Board of Directors elections 2022, District J: Vince Buzek

The District J director represents Eastlake, Northglenn, Federal Heights, Westminster Shaw Heights and Wallace Village.

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

Vince Buzek is running for District J.

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

I am a proven leader working on moving RTD forward with a new internal leadership team focused on looking to the future of transit. Significant change in an agency this size takes time and in my term on the Board, we have made significant, positive changes at RTD.

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

Not having a consistent, reliable income stream. Because we are dependent on sales tax revenue for the bulk of our budget, our income stream varies with the strength of the economy. Regular funding from the state would be very helpful and is what the majority of other transit agencies in the country rely upon for their income streams.

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?

No

Explain your reasoning.

Services need to be focused first on transit dependent populations. However, these populations are now sprinkled throughout the district and not only concentrated in the core urban areas. Our system optimization plan does envision the return of services to suburban areas. Its not just wealthy vs. low income. Its providing services to all in need wherever located.

What should RTD do to make passengers feel safer?

We have taken steps to make this happen with implementation of impact team policing and look-in capable video system implementation.

Do you use public transit in your life now?

Yes

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

Whenever I need to go downtown I use the N Line. Probably once or twice per week.

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

Yes

Explain your reasoning.

Urban sprawl is problematic for reasons other than making transit use difficult. More dense urban areas also help reduce the carbon footprint of a city, reduces need for single occupant vehicles thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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?

No

Explain your reasoning.

While we have made great strides in rebuilding the agency and public trust, more needs to be done. We need to prove to the public that we are good stewards of the tax dollars we receive before we can ask them for more.

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

Yes

Explain your reasoning.

See answer above. RTD receives less than one percent of its funding from the state while most other transit agencies in the country receive, on average, 25% of their funding from the state. We can be partners in helping the state achieve its long term climate goals.

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

Yes

Explain your reasoning.

This needs to happen until we see the results of the NW Rail study which is underway.

Should RTD reduce or eliminate its fares?

Yes

Explain your reasoning.

We need to reduce our fares. If you keep fares affordable and make the system simple to use, you will attract riders.

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

Yes

Explain your reasoning.

Our paratransit service is one of the best in the country but it is expensive. We should examine whether cost is a barrier to disabled individuals using this service.

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