To the Editor:
Next month, voters in Colorado Springs and El Paso County have an opportunity to set the stage for significant improvements in our transportation and storm drainage infrastructure. As a volunteer on boards dealing with our region’s vital infrastructure, I support both initiatives.
Colorado Springs question 2A asks for approval of a $5 monthly residential charge to fund 71 specific drainage and flood prevention projects. Anyone who has lived in the Springs for more than a few months has seen the impact of strong rains on our current aged, often failing water control systems. Repairing these structures and updating others is essential to prevent future damage and save us money in the long run.
Approval of the ballot item provides dedicated funding to address these shortcomings and helps us address state and federal lawsuits against the city based on past failure to address our drainage infrastructure. They also speak to Colorado Springs’ obligations in our agreement with the city of Pueblo for completion of the Southern Delivery System.
Mayor John Suthers and city leaders have produced a specific project list. Our recent history regarding street repair gives me confidence our money will go where we mean it to go. Opponents will argue this is a “rain tax.” Nonsense. This is smart investment for the long-term future of our community and our relations with communities downstream. And, it will allow more general fund money to expand public safety forces — both police and fire departments for our general welfare.
At the regional level, the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority is asking us to approve adding Improvement of I-25 between State Highway 105 north to County Line Road to the approved list of PPRTA projects. This is the El Paso County segment of what is known as “The Gap.” Widening I-25 is long overdue for a segment of interstate highway unchanged since it was built a half century ago. Planning is accelerating and this is a step in collaboration along the Front Range to solve an annoying and dangerous problem. And it comes without any tax increase.
Area voters should look closely at both the city and regional issues. I believe you will see the wisdom of both proposals and will support them in the November ballot.
— James Moore, Colorado Springs