RTD District G: Unopposed candidate for RTD’s District G won’t be swayed by special interests

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    Ken Mihalik, who works in the aerospace industry, will be running this year as the sole candidate to replace to Gary Lasater for the Regional Transportation District G seat. The district covers Lone Tree, Foxfield and portions of Aurora, Centennial, Parker and unincorporated Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

    Lasater has held the role since 2012 and is unable to serve again due to term limits. Mihalik ran for RTD’s District H seat in 2012 and lost to incumbent Kent Bagley.

    This year, residents in this district will see the opening of the Aurora R Line, a 10.5-mile Interstate 225 light rail system that will connect the East Commuter Rail Line through Aurora to Nine Mile Station and metro Denver’s Southeast Corridor Light Rail.

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    [wc_accordion collapse=”1″ leaveopen=”0″ layout=”box”] [wc_accordion_section title=”About the Race“]

    By RACHEL SAPIN, Staff writer

    Unopposed candidate for RTD’s District G won’t be swayed by special interests

    Ken Mihalik, who works in the aerospace industry, will be running this year as the sole candidate to replace to Gary Lasater for the Regional Transportation District G seat.

    Mihalik said that he will be a good candidate for the position because he does not have special interests that could compromise him in his judgement.

    “I’m not a developer, and I don’t have any friends that are developers,” he said. “There will be a lot of special interest money floating around. I opted to be a self-funded candidate.”

    Ken Mihalik
    Ken Mihalik

    Mihalik said he prefers market-based options for funding RTD’s future expansion projects.

    This year, RTD received some criticism from advocacy groups for charging $9 each way to take the new A Line commuter rail from Denver Union Station through Aurora to the Denver International Airport. Mihalik does not see lower fares in the future as a solution.

    “Unfortunately, there will be those that think any amount is too much. There is no requirement to take the train to the airport. Any options that existed prior to the A Line completion are still available today,” he said. “Lower fares do not automatically mean more riders. People consider more than just cost when deciding how to get to the airport, or anywhere else. Financial sustainability should absolutely be a top priority.”

    [/wc_accordion_section] [wc_accordion_section title=”Ken Mihalik’s biography“]

    Ken Mihalik works in the aerospace industry for United Launch Alliance. He holds an MBA from Texas Christian University.

    [/wc_accordion_section] [wc_accordion_section title=”Ken Mihalik’s issue questions and responses“]

    What makes you the most qualified candidate? I don’t have any qualifications that I think should prohibit someone from this position. I’m not a developer, and I don’t have any friends who are developers.

    There will be a lot of special interest money floating around. I opted to be a self-funded candidate.  

    Some advocacy groups have argued that paying $9 each way from Denver Union Station to the airport on the A Line is out of reach for many low-income residents who need to use the service. It’s a fraction of that in some cities, such as Minneapolis. Do you think the new RTD fare structure is affordable for commuter and light rail lines? Is it more important to draw more riders with lower fares, or move away from that model and work toward a sustainable RTD budget? Unfortunately, there will be those that think any amount is too much. There is no requirement to take the train to the airport. Any options that existed prior to the A Line completion are still available today.  

    Lower fares do not automatically mean more riders. People consider more than just cost when deciding how to get to the airport, or anywhere else. Financial sustainability should absolutely be a top priority.  

    What strategies will you implement to promote and increase ridership? I don’t think people abstain from riding RTD because of a lack of awareness. Public transportation has been a fixture in many cities for a long time. People will continue to weigh opportunity costs about which forms of transportation to use or not use.

    What funding mechanisms should RTD use to fund future transportation projects? My preference is for market-based options

    How often do you use RTD? Infrequently.

    A common complaint is that RTD buses, especially on suburban lines, come too infrequently and aren’t on schedule. Are those complaints off base? What can RTD do to improve on those criticisms? I would have to know about specific complaints. It cannot possibly satisfy the desires and demands of everyone, nor should it. I frequently see empty buses and empty bus stops in the suburban areas that I travel in.

    [/wc_accordion_section] [wc_accordion_section title=”LIGHTER SIDE: Ken Mihalik’s personality questions and responses“]

    What food do you hate most? GMOs.

    Do you indulge in recreational marijuana? I do not partake, but I was a supporter of Amendment 64. I do not believe government should regulate what adults choose to put in their bodies.

    Who would play you in a movie about your life? Mathew McConaughey, with John Cena as a body double.

    What Olympic Sport do you wish you could win gold at?  As long as it’s just fantasy, I’ll say triathlon.

    What was your favorite childhood candy? Banana Laffy Taffy.

    If you could be an eyewitness to one event in history, what would it be?  Sounds cliché, but I’ll say the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Moments like that are all too rare in human history.

    If the Secret Service gave you a code name, what would it be? Wolverine (the mascot from “Red Dawn”).

    If you had to sing karaoke, what song would you sing? Car karaoke counts.  It’s an oldie, but a goodie: “Always on my Mind,” by Willie Nelson.

    What epitaph would you like written on your tombstone? “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

    Is a hot dog a sandwich? If it’s meat between bread, it’s a sandwich.

    What is the last concert you attended? Its been a while — Justin Timberlake at Pepsi Center.

    What movie do you never tire of watching? “Jaws”

    Dogs or cats? I enjoy both, we have cats on account of a lot of travel.

    What’s the most overrated thing about living in Colorado? I don’t know if it’s the most overrated, but its something an earlier question me thinking about. The nightmare scenarios predicted by Amendment 64 opponents never materialized. I think eight other states will have similar measures on ballots this fall. Freedom is popular, even if it comes with some inconveniences.

    [/wc_accordion_section] [wc_accordion_section title=”Ken Mihalik’s campaign finance“]

    Click here for Ken Mihalik’s Campaign Finance Reports

    [/wc_accordion_section] [wc_accordion_section title=”Ken Mihalik’s endorsements“]

    Not available.

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