Over the past few years, a group of local citizens and experts deeply engaged with Aspen/Pitkin County Airport issues has become concerned about current plans to expand it to allow bigger planes; about the Airport’s long-festering challenges in safety, noise, air pollution, and climate-harming emissions; and about the defective public process being used to develop and advance airside expansion plans. Some important information provided to the public and to elected officials has been incorrect; independent views have been systematically excluded or disregarded; big decisions continue to be made with little public visibility; and imprudent, risky choices are being treated as inevitable. If not better informed and conducted, this flawed process could lead Pitkin County to invest more than a half-billion dollars (more than its entire annual budget), especially on the airside, to create an airport no longer fit for purpose, unlikely to win Federal approval and funding, and unable to meet the community’s safety, health, and environmental goals. Roughly a dozen attempts to raise these concerns received no responses, then the disappointing one here.
We therefore felt it our civic duty to draw on the collective insights of our group, the wider community, and our deeply informed technical advisors to help inform our fellow-citizens and elected officials by stimulating an independent, objective, accurate, inclusive, respectful, and constructive conversation. We formed Aspen Fly Right to achieve these goals. We have no dog in this fight, no business interests, no ulterior motives. We just want smarter and wiser airside decisions, made through an authentically transparent, balanced, fact-based, and informed democratic process.