Rethinking big-ticket Rural Transportation Authority projects

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Dear Editor,
In this current economic climate, and with the governor, city and county elected officials asking voters for more tax dollars to pay for the maintenance of our existing roads and bridges, perhaps now would be the time for voters to be given the opportunity to change how their current taxes to the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority are being allocated.
For example, rather than build a multi-million dollar overpass at Woodmen Road and Academy Boulevard, build an effective, scaled-down solution to the traffic problem at that intersection and apply the remaining millions to the many outstanding maintenance needs on our existing roads and bridges.
In addition to stretching millions of dollars over city and county projects, voters also would be rescuing the many businesses around the Woodmen/Academy area which will be adversely impacted during and after construction.
Can the city afford to lose the millions of tax dollars that businesses, like King Sooper’s, bring to the coffer annually? Do the residents of Colorado Springs really want another blighted area on a major intersection like what happened at Circle Drive and Fountain Boulevard?
Already the shopping center at Woodmen and Academy has many empty storefronts vacated by businesses which did not renew their leases because of the impending overpass project.
Tax revenue from the many residential areas along the Woodmen Corridor also will be impacted, as property values decrease with the building of an overpass adjacent to several of the neighborhoods, as well as the increase in the number of traffic lanes the Woodmen Road Improvement Project proposes.
Large projects such as the overpass at Austin Bluffs Parkway and Union, and Woodmen and Academy are more expensive to build and maintain. There are less expensive and more effective ways to help improve traffic flow and not be as costly to maintain over the long run.
I encourage our city and county officials to place an item on the ballot in the upcoming April election giving voters the opportunity to redirect some of their tax dollars to more projects rather than to fewer larger, more expensive and more intrusive projects.
As the saying goes “less is more.”
Ann V. DeVere, Colorado Springs