Governor Hickenlooper says he has a strong interest in Colorado's natural resources.
He made an appearance today at the grand opening of a compressed natural gas facility in Glenwood Springs.
The governor said the work Roaring Fork Transportation Authority is doing by integrating natural gas into its transit system is nothing short of groundbreaking.
"We're making waves, this is the first rural transportation district that's using compressed natural gas anywhere in the country," said Hickenlooper.
The state's chief executive joined dozens of other Coloradans at the roaring fork transportation authority headquarters ON Wednesday to celebrate the beginning of a new journey
"A lot of people think bus rapid transit may be the way of the future, where you make these buses very comfortable, better suspensions, you lower them off of a raised platform so they feel just like trains, but they're much less expensive and much more mobile," said Hickenlooper.
The goal of Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, is to provide faster, more efficient services than ordinary bus lines…making improvements to existing technology, infrastructure, and scheduling.
Hickenlooper added, "It's a big deal we have a lot of natural gas in Colorado, it's cleaner, cheaper, it creates job in Colorado."
Most of RFTA's buses run on diesel fuel but prices have jumped from $2.20 a gallon to $3.40 since 2009.
"So it's costing us about eight hundred thousand dollars more per year in 2013 than it was in 2009 and we can't absorb those kinds of increases. so we had to look for an alternative," said CEO of RFTA, Dan Blankenship.
The new idea is also eco-friendly.
"Natural gas is a great transition fuel as we go to a greener economy, if you believe the geologist, and I am a geologist…we have a tremendous amount of gas that’s recoverable in this county, the real challenge is to make sure we do it safely," said Hickenlooper.
RFTA officials say they wouldn't even be having a grand opening, without the support of the governor.
"It's a tremendous honor to have governor Hickenlooper here today. his organization, the Colorado energy office, was instrumental. It was his support early on in the process, that led to the successful outcome that we had here today," said Blankenship.
RFTA currently carries over 4 million commuters every year and plans to kick off its new bus service in september