Today in New West news: RTD delays opening of two new train lines, Missoula approves six-week paid pregnancy leave for city employees, and Deer Valley Resort named best U.S. ski resort.
Back in October, we reported Colorado’s Regional Transportation District would be delaying the opening of their new G line between Arvada and Wheat Ridge, although they hoped to have it operational by December 20, 2016. Now, according to the Denver Business Journal, the RTD will be unable to open the G Line by the end of 2016; in addition, they will not be able to open the R Line, which would run through Aurora, according to RTD Board Chairman Tom Tobiassen:
Tobiassen said he was disappointed that the train segments won’t have a 2016 opening, as has been expected for years.
“All along, the weather’s been great, we’ve been doing well, and then there’s a hitch that slips us by a few weeks, and then it creeps,” Tobiassen said in an interview with the Denver Business Journal Friday.
“I’m not upset. A year from now we’ll forget about the struggles. But we want to get it open. We want the G Line open really badly and the Arvada people want it open. We just need to hang in there,” he said.
RTD has said it hoped the G Line, part of the commuter rail project that includes the A line to Denver International Airport and the B line to Westminster, would be open in “the fall” of 2016, a season that ends Dec. 20.
But with problems continuing with the software controlling the crossing gates at intersections along the A and the B lines, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has said it won’t allow testing on the G Line until the problems are corrected on the A and the B Lines.
Over in Montana, according to the Missoulian, the Missoula City Council has approved a six-week paid pregnancy leave policy for city employees—ahead of discussions next summer to expand leave up to 12 weeks and include partners as well as adoptions in the time off:
Harlan Wells, the Ward 2 representative, asked for council debate on the medical leave-related measure.
Wells, who does not sit on the Administration and Finance Committee that discussed the plan last week, brought up concerns about the cost of the policy related to paying workers to cover for pregnant women, which he felt wasn’t addressed in the meeting that he watched on the city council’s website.
“I’m not against this concept,” Wells said, but bemoaned the “lack of a clear answer when people asked the cost.”
“At this point my only objection to it is not understanding the true financial impact,” Wells said.
After a few minutes, Ward 3 representative Emily Bentley voted to end discussion and vote.
Scraping together time off “is an incredibly stressful thing to new mothers,” Bentley said. “We’re talking about a nominal cost to help women tremendously.”
The leave policy passed in a 10-1 vote, with one council person absent.
Ward 6 representative Michelle Cares was gone Monday night after recently giving birth to a baby girl, her fellow Ward 6 representative Marilyn Marler said.
Down the road, the council plans to look into another six weeks paid time off for pregnant mothers and 12 weeks of paid leave for partners of pregnant women or adopting couples, both of which would require the city to budget money for overtime pay or hiring temporary staff, especially in emergency services.
Central Services Director Steve Johnson told the Missoulian last week those departments estimated yearly costs of covering leave at about $150,000.
Finally, over in Utah, according to Utah Business, the World Ski Awards have named Deer Valley Resort the United States’ Best Ski Resort for the fourth consecutive year:
Deer Valley Resort’s win of United States’ Best Ski Resort comes after a record number of more than two million votes were cast across the globe for the competing resorts. Votes were cast by leading ski tourism professionals worldwide, including senior executives, travel buyers, tour operators, agents and media, as well as thousands of luxury travel consumers. Winners were celebrated at the 2016 Ski Oscars Gala Ceremony on November 19, 2016 at the Ski Oscars Award Gala Ceremony held in the legendary winter sports destination of Kitzbühel, Austria.
“Earning esteemed titles, such as United States’ Best Ski Resort, contribute to what we have termed the Deer Valley Difference,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort. “Excellence at every turn is a time-honored tradition at the resort and is the benchmark we uphold in offering memorable ski vacations.”