The Roaring Fork Transit Authority is finally digging into the construction phase of VelociRFTA, the first ever rapid transit system to be built in rural America.
Dan Blankenship with RFTA says, "It will be a fast trip from Carbondale to Aspen, or any of the stations in between."
Officials say this is the beginning new era for public transit.
"It will be a platform that will be a lot more efficient than the current one,? Blankenship said. ?It will allow us to scale our services to demand more rapidly. It will be very efficient and cost effective."
When all is said and done, the VelociRFTA project will cost over $46 million.
Nearly half of that money is coming out of local funds approved by voters in 2008, and the rest is coming from a federal grant.
"We were successful in receiving a Federal Transient Administration grant for about $25 million," Blankenship said.
"This is a project that really captures a lot of our goals,? Federal Transit Administrator, Peter Rogoff said. ?Most importantly, it allows people to keep more of their money in their wallet rather than having to hand it over to the gas pump."
VelociRFTA buses will run on compressed natural gas.
"That will provide cleaner air for the valley and all the kids that are going to be here for generations to come," Rogoff said.
Each bus will be made entirely in the United States by Gillig.
"These busses are going to be designed specifically for a bus rapid transit service, which includes some traffic preemption, GPS tracking, and WIFI," Sam Enochian with Gillig said.
Construction of the first VelociRFTA bus station should be finished in about three months.
The entire bus system, from Glenwood to Aspen, is scheduled to be up and running in September of 2013.