Colorado Springs citizens have every right to be angry about the state of our roads. I heard it over and over when I ran for mayor earlier this spring. And I’m angry about it too.
Now, we have a chance to do something about it, by voting for 2C. 2C was supported by a near-unanimous new City Council.
Its terms are straightforward:
- A targeted sales tax costing less than $10 a month per resident;
- Nearly 40 percent of the revenue will come from tourists and business travelers;
- Every penny goes to roads, and no new government debt or permanent government hires are allowed;
- In five years, the potholes will be fixed, and 2C will totally disappear.
- The need for 2C is obvious to everyone who has sat behind a steering wheel.
The roads in Colorado Springs are terrible. They are so bad that an independent transportation research group recently found that more than 70 percent of our roads are in “poor or mediocre shape.”
And 2C is a modest, fiscally conservative strategy to fix this transportation quagmire.
As I mentioned, 2C is a small sales tax increase that will go solely to fund roads and goes away in five years. The cost is less than $10 per month for the average Springs resident, and groceries, gas, utilities and prescription drugs are exempt from the tax. Families pay enough for those essentials, and Issue 2C has been structured to minimize costs to our families while maximizing our ability to fix our roads.
Issue 2C will not fund a single new city employee — all the work will be done by the private sector. It also won’t create a single red cent of debt.
Some opponents of our road plan believe it is better to rack up debt to pay for our roads. That’s the kind of irresponsible thing that Congress would do, and I won’t be part of it. Others say we should raise property taxes or take away property tax exemptions from churches or nonprofits.
In general, a property tax increase is a bad way to pay for roads. Business travelers and tourists don’t pay their fair share.
The reason I am asking voters to approve Issue 2C is that I have made significant cuts in the city budget to pay for stormwater and flood mitigation efforts, which we are legally required to do, and there are simply not enough funds in the budget to significantly reduce our backlog of much-needed road repairs.
If approved, the limited and small increase will go away entirely in five years, and it will be used exclusively for road repairs.
It will also not only be paid for by Springs’ residents — nearly 40 percent of the tax will be paid for by tourists and out-of-town residents who shop in our city.
A great deal of the wear and tear on our roads comes from tourists, so it is only right that they help pay for their repair.
Fixing our roads is not only a way to reduce the cost to drivers for new tires and tie rods, it is an investment in the future of our city.
Better infrastructure will make it easier to recruit companies to relocate to Colorado Springs and convince existing companies to expand.
For everyone who has blown a tire, busted a tie rod or crashed their bike from hitting a pothole in Colorado Springs, it is time we get our roads fixed.
Less than $10 a month will go a long way to getting our roads back on track.
The City Council and I would be honored if you would stand with us to get Colorado Springs moving again by voting yes on 2C.
Mayor John Suthers was elected to the office in May 2015. He can be reached at email@example.com.