RFTA's new compressed natural gas facility

March 7, 2013

Governor Hickenlooper joined numerous local agencies Wednesday in launching Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s (RFTA) new compressed natural gas (CNG) facility in West Glenwood. The CNG fueling station is part of RFTA’s first rural bus rapid transit system project, called VelociRFTA, which was touted at the event as the first rural bus rapid transit service in the nation. Compressed natural gas will fuel four CNG buses in RFTA’s regular fleet, and the entire VelociRFTA fleet of eighteen buses, which will begin service in the fall of 2013.

RFTA’s use of compressed natural gas diversifies its fuel sources, which also include hybrids and biodiesel. As natural gas is a domestic fuel, it is more stable in pricing and availability. RFTA expects the use of compressed natural gas to help keep commuting costs affordable for local workers and to ensure transportation security in the Roaring Fork Valley.

The Aspen Strategy Center and the Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER) worked to help RFTA discover the viability of CNG as part of the VelociRFTA bus rapid transit project. The Colorado Energy Office then assisted RFTA in getting Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds to help finance this element of the project. The governor’s office has been a strong supporter of CNG use as an alternative fuel.

RFTA transports more than four million commuters annually, and serves parts of Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties. Six of Garfield County’s fleet vehicles operate on CNG. These vehicles currently are fueled in Rifle, previously the site of the only commercial CNG fueling station in the county. Garfield County will soon be working with RFTA on the terms of an intergovernmental agreement, which would allow the county to fuel its vehicles in Glenwood. Garfield County supports commuters to and from western Garfield County by funding the Hogback RFTA route, and also helps fund The Traveler, free transportation for the county’s senior citizens.