By BILLY ELBROCK
Mayor, Village of Chama
One of the benefits of living in a remote community is the option to “get away from it all” … to have the opportunity to be in a small town and experience simple living, enjoying nature and outdoor activities.
However, the reality is the Village of Chama is 80 to100 miles away from a city of any size. What makes us stand out as a desirable place to live can also be viewed as a drawback to some people.
Enter the “Blue Bus” system, formally known as the North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD).
The Blue Bus is VERY important to our community and communities similar to ours. To have the option to travel to Española, Dulce, Farmington, Taos and more is a huge draw for our region. And, to have this service offered to residents at a free or premium-fare is absolutely critical. It levels the playing field for all individuals and increases access for everyone.
Blue Buses also are ADA accessible. Members in the community are able to travel to appointments, visit friends and family members, go shopping, and connect to other forms of transportation, all thanks to the Blue Bus. It opens up opportunities such as investing into the local economy, expanding residents’ job prospects, allowing individuals to seek the best medical care and exploring new areas.
Additionally, the Blue Bus brings travelers and tourists into our village. Our economy, once backed by agriculture, has increasingly shifted to tourism and new business owners seeking to escape more congested, urban areas. The benefit goes both ways. Without the public transportation option, our community members would lose the ability to conveniently travel out of Chama for their needs, and tourists would lose the ability to easily come into our village and explore all that we have to offer. From our Chile Ski Classic in January, through our Fourth of July celebration and Chama Valley Studio Tour over Labor Day, this area is home to a vibrant and lively community where a unique blend of cultures come together only as a small town can.
It is very important for our community to have access to public transit. The NCRTD is essential to the success of our region as a whole. It connects us to larger cities and lets tourists know where we are on the map.
I would highly encourage everyone to vote YES for the reauthorization of funding for NCRTD.