The knee-jerk anti-government letters are beginning to appear in opposition to the RTA. On closer inspection, the complaints of no-accountability and another layer of government are unfounded.
First, “no accountability” is a red-herring, the RTA language that voters will sign into law, mandates a citizen’s advisory committee and an annual independent audit of the spending of the money. The ballot contains the list of projects that will be completed and the transit component can only be used to improve our woefully inadequate system.
Second, the intergovernmental agreement that the voters will sign into law allows only 1 percent of the money collected to go to administration. The RTA board will be made of already elected officials who will receive no additional compensation for serving on the board. The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) has agreed to serve as the administrators of this board.
PPACG is our regional transportation planning agency that conducts massive citizen input to decide how our federal transportation dollars should be spent. They will take on the additional role of helping the RTA board administer the dollars. That is an incredibly smart and efficient move for our government. They have already identified only about half the 1 percent will be needed and the rest roles into completing transportation projects.
I hope they add one or two staff people who will oversee the accurate collection and spending of $60 million of our tax dollars each year so projects are done well and on time.
Finally, the city and county do have transportation departments and the RTA will not duplicate them. The maintenance dollars that are collected by the RTA will go to each of the government entities on a per capita basis and spent to ensure our roads and bridges and traffic light systems are well maintained.
Just like with our SCIP dollars and projects, private business will complete the projects for us, fulfilling yet another request of the citizens that government not compete with the private sector in areas that private business can do as well.