“We kind of got into an interesting discussion on why we have a fixation on rail-based transit,” McDaniel told Wired. “Jared used to work at ski resorts up in Colorado. He said, ‘Well, you could just use ski lifts.’” Suddenly, a side project was born. “It’s grown beyond that once people started crunching the numbers and seeing how feasible it was,” McDaniel said.
It just so happened that McDaniel and Ficklin’s home city had just debated whether to install a little more than five miles of light rail at a cost of $550 million – around $100 million per mile.
“Putting in an aerial ropeway, we’re talking a fraction of that,” McDaniel said. “A gondola can be put in for $12 million a mile. It’s a fraction of the cost because you’re not looking at eminent domain or rights of way, and you’re not disrupting local businesses or cutting out vehicular traffic.”