RTD 2022 District O Board of Directors: Lynn Guissinger

District O represents the most northwestern portion of the RTD area, including the city of Boulder, Jamestown, Louisville, Lyons, Nederland, and Ward.

Lynn Guissinger has represented the district since 2019. Richard O’Keefe is running against her in the district.

Find your neighborhood here.


Lynn Guissinger (incumbent)

Lynn4RTD.com

What is your elevator pitch for why voters should choose you?

I have over 35 years of professional experience in multimodal transport planning, design and policy. At RTD, I spearheaded accountability change by requesting a state audit of the agency’s internal audit and subsequently re-directing it to comply with IAA standards. I lead the hiring of our GM/CEO. I served on the executive committee for 3 terms and chaired the finance committee.

What is the biggest problem currently facing RTD and what would you do to solve it?

Our biggest challenge is the labor shortage…from operators to mechanics and other maintenance workers. Despite the renegotiation of the collective agreement and the increase in starting salaries, it has been difficult to attract workers. We cannot provide service to our customers if we do not have workers. To solve this problem, I would suggest a more robust recruiting effort.

Coming out of the pandemic, RTD prioritized transit service for low-income and minority communities. Some once popular routes that served affluent areas remain suspended. Do you agree with this approach?

Yes.

Explain your reasoning.

I don’t think it’s a matter of low income versus rich. As we are currently unable to provide service due to labor shortages, I support providing service on routes that have the highest ridership at this time. I would like routes in less populated areas to be reinstated in the future. My area has a large population of seniors who need mobility options.

What should RTD do to make passengers feel safer?

RTD has made recent changes such as the hiring of a new police chief who is focused on safety and will hire more officers and has employed mental health clinicians. RTD has partnered with the City and County of Denver and other jurisdictions to improve safety. Physical changes to RTD facilities to discourage unwanted behavior are underway. Safer public transit = more traffic.

Do you use public transit in your life now?

Yes.

If yes, how many times? What do you use for that? If not, why not?

I try to use it when I can. Bus service has pretty much disappeared in my district (I have to travel 10 miles to access the LRT). I used to drive the 116X downtown, but that is being phased out. Our planners say traffic is low, but it’s hard to increase traffic when there are few choices. I hear that regularly from constituents. My constituents are also concerned about the security of our facilities.

Should RTD encourage cities to build denser development that could generate more footfall?

Yes.

Explain your reasoning.

I support partnerships where RTD can analytically demonstrate the benefits of development for public transit. RTD TOD policies have encouraged successful development in several urban areas. Land use is a local decision, and in more suburban areas, an increase in ridership could take several years to materialize. In my area, some multi-family developments are proposed that could possibly generate traffic.

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

No.

Explain your reasoning.

RTD must demonstrate safe and reliable service over time in order to regain public trust. I said that RTD has overcapitalized to the detriment of operations due to the FasTracks plan. Rail corridors were planned, but so was improved bus service. Neither has been achieved. Even though we have stabilized our finances, we cannot expect voters to support raising taxes.

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

Yes.

Explain your reasoning.

RTD receives little or no funding from the state legislature. I’m told other major transit agencies across the country receive an average of 23% of their operating funds from the state. The goal of reducing SOV trips in the Denver metro cannot be achieved by RTD alone.

ShShould RTD continue to save money for the Boulder-Longmont train and other unfinished FasTracks projects?

No.

Explain your reasoning.

As I mentioned earlier, the FasTracks plan also included improved bus service. This disappeared around 2014 when the Council established FISA. Money that was supposed to fund the bus service was diverted to the savings account to fund the Fastracks corridors. This was not part of the original plan and should not be considered harmless.

Should RTD reduce or eliminate its tariffs?

No.

Explain your reasoning.

RTD undertook a tariff and equity analysis. I do not believe that RTD should eliminate tariffs. I think the simplification of the tariff structure is in order and that there will probably be a slight reduction in certain tariffs.

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

No.

Explain your reasoning.

RTD already far exceeds ADA requirements for accommodating people with disabilities. That said, the obligation to provide route access services is limited to within 3/4 of a mile of a fixed route service. As more routes are being eliminated, RTD should consider preserving and improving its Access-a-Ride service.


Richard O’Keefe

okeefe4colorado.com

What is your elevator pitch for why voters should choose you?

I have managed and turned around billion dollar organizations with financial challenges while increasing employee satisfaction.

What is the biggest problem currently facing RTD and what would you do to solve it?

While some of the short-term financial challenges have subsided, the system is still grappling with the effects of the Great Recession and Covid shutdowns. The RTD needs to work to stabilize its finances, given my experience, I would be perfectly able to help it.

Coming out of the pandemic, RTD prioritized transit service for low-income and minority communities. Some once popular routes that served affluent areas remain suspended. Do you agree with this approach?

Yes

Explain your reasoning.

While I agree with the approach of directing RTD resources to where the needs are greatest and where they can do the most good, I think we need to work on a service restoration plan pre-pandemic. Once the system and services are stabilized and restored, I would then work on a system to expand services and service frequency.

What should RTD do to make passengers feel safer?

I would work with the leaders of other major transit systems around the world to introduce “best practices” for safety in the RTD. Other systems face the same problems and we should try to learn from them.

Do you use public transit in your life now?

Yes

If yes, how many times? What do you use for that?

If not, why not?

Growing up in New York, my immigrant mother didn’t drive, so I started using buses and the subway at a young age. As an adult, I lived in Edinburgh, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney and Chicago without a car, so I was heavily dependent on public transport. I use public transport whenever I can. That includes trips from my home in Boulder to downtown Denver and DIA.

Should RTD encourage cities to build denser development that could generate more footfall?

Yes

Explain your reasoning.

I think the RTD should do everything in their power to increase ridership and that includes prioritizing services in the most densely populated areas. Public transport increases the attractiveness of developments (housing, offices, nightlife) and adds an “option” that people appreciate.

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

Nope

Explain your reasoning.

I would explore the use of public-private partnerships to create faster transit corridors, improve existing routes, and increase frequency and reliability (as other cities have done), before increasing taxes and increase the financial burden on families in times of high inflation. . I would lobby large companies in the region to contribute financially to RTD programs to help the poor and the elderly

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

Yes

Explain your reasoning.

If funds are available from state and federal governments, without raising taxes, the RTD should seek more funding. The system provides value and makes the RTD service area an attractive place to live and work, the state should help keep the system viable.

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

Yes

Explain your reasoning.

The Northwest Rail project was approved by voters in 2004, taxes began to be collected in 2005, the project’s estimated cost more than tripled, and the completion date was moved from 2015 to the more realistic 2040s. being 2050+. This is unacceptable! No other taxes should be levied unless first approved by voters and voters need to know how/if we are moving forward.

Should RTD reduce or eliminate its tariffs?

Yes

Explain your reasoning.

As an example, I am an avid user of the AB1 bus from downtown Boulder to DIA, but for a family of 4 the bus costs can be prohibitive. I would suggest lowering fares throughout the RTD system to increase ridership by offering reduced “family fares” and free passes for the poor and elderly.

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

Yes

Explain your reasoning.

Yes, as a community we need to learn from other public transport systems so that we can better serve the disabled, the poor and the elderly. This should be a top priority for the RTD Board.

About Kevin Strickland

Check Also

Inflation in Argentina reaches 100% creating poverty and unrest

Inflation in Argentina heading towards 100% is fueling government woes as real wages lag, increasing …