RTD Director District M candidate Q&A

Marjorie Sloan

AGE
75
RESIDENCE
Golden
PROFESSION
Lawyer
EDUCATION
B.A., Marietta College; M.Ed. Ohio Univ.; J.D. Univ. CO
FAMILY
Husband Dendy, Sons Trey (Tracy) and Mark (Karin), Grandchildren Meghan and Ryan
EXPERIENCE
Work: Partner, BakerHostetler; Staff Counsel,10th Cir. Ct. of Appeals; Teacher, underserved schools.
Civic: Golden mayor, councilor, planning commissioner, urban renewal authority representative.

Why are you seeking public office?
I am committed to community service. Right now, RTD is in a precarious state — financially, operationally, and politically. My core belief is that an efficient, equitable public transit system is a lifeline for individuals, businesses, and organizations. Solving RTD’s current problems is necessary, difficult, and doable. I would be honored to work with the public, RTD workers, experts, and other leaders so that RTD emerges as the transit agency the Metro Area needs and deserves.

What will your top three priorities be if elected?
1. Recognize financial realities.
2. Reach innovative solutions for prioritized needs. And
3. Demonstrate respect for patrons, employees, and partners.

The coronavirus pandemic has created a severe budget crunch that’s expected to last for several years. How should RTD cut spending and/or increase revenue?
The pandemic has caused rippling uncertainty, financial shortfalls, and upended transit. During severe economic downturns, the federal government has the ability to offer financial aid when no other entity can. Partnering with other transit agencies to lobby this position would be wise. RTD’s own revenues, however, are unlikely to increase in the short or medium term. So with or without a federal infusion, RTD faces a herculean cost-cutting task. From an outsider’s perspective, management salaries appear vulnerable to the budget axe. For further opportunities to whittle down the predicted deficit, I would work with other board members, staff, members of the accountability committee, nonprofit decision-makers, and local government officials to identify potential reductions.

What is your long-term vision for RTD to better serve Denver and the metro area? What are the challenges to achieving it?
Passengers board buses and trains to get to the important places in their lives. Taking transit should not be a job in itself. Riders deserve vehicles that show up; get them to their destinations in a reasonable amount of time; and offer comfortable, convenient trips for an equitable fare. An accommodating transit system will meet the needs of riders and businesses as well as reduce congestion, improve air quality, and boost economic opportunities. Of course, there are challenges to achieving this vision. The primary challenge is obtaining the necessary financial resources to rebuild RTD. Additionally, RTD officials and employees will need to serve as a change agent, fostering a positive public attachment to transit.

In a district as large as RTD, should the board take a demand-driven approach that focuses service in communities with more density, or do you favor maintaining an equitable level of service across the coverage area?
As posed, this is an either/or question about a nuanced situation. Residents of the entire district pay taxes to RTD. They all have vested interest in the viability of the complete system and also an entitlement to service. Only a data-driven approach will make RTD nimble enough to balance both these the needs. The bottom line is the prevention of riders left waiting on a busy street corner while an empty bus circles past deserted bus stops.

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