The issue: As the New Year starts, old problems remain.
What we think: From TABOR to tourism, here’s our list of challenges and solutions for 2020.
Tell us what you think: Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As 2020 opens, optimism is running high in Colorado Springs. It’s the year the long-awaited U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum and Hall of Fame opens, while construction on the equally anticipated Summit House continues. Ground has been broken on a downtown stadium, Colorado College is getting a new hockey arena, development continues in every corner of the city, job growth is steady and there are rumors swirling of new companies coming and investing bigly.
But we do have some challenges we need to address. So in the spirit of new beginnings, here’s the Business Journal’s wishlist for 2020:
• Adjustments to the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. We love the concept that voters should approve tax increases; we’re less fond of the fact that it’s nearly impossible to plan for big capital projects under TABOR, since any revenue collected beyond inflation and population growth is returned to the taxpayers, who barely notice the tiny amounts returned to them on their state income tax returns. There was a flubbed attempt to end TABOR’s stranglehold on the state’s budget. Let’s hope 2020 brings a better effort.
• Complete Interstate 25 gap construction. We’re hoping 2020 is the year the project ends, and traffic once again flows smoothly between Colorado Springs and Denver. While the solution for a toll lane between Monument and Castle Rock isn’t perfect, it’s necessary for commerce and travel between the two largest cities in Colorado. But it isn’t going to solve all the transportation and traffic snarls throughout Colorado and in Colorado Springs.
• And that brings us to transportation concerns here in the city. We need multimodal solutions in our growing city, an end to sprawl and a way for residents to get around town without hopping in their cars. We want better public transportation for residents who do not have or can’t afford cars or who want to leave a smaller carbon footprint.
• We’re wishing for a transit study for passenger rail between Pueblo and Fort Collins. Research shows that increasing highway lanes merely increases traffic; it doesn’t solve the problem. In a few years, we’ll be right where we are now: wishing for six lanes of highway and paving over the landscape that drew us to Colorado in the first place.
• We’re hoping that 2020 brings an increasing diversity in companies and jobs for Colorado Springs and a continued focus on startups and entrepreneurism. We should support those agencies and organizations that provide resources and structure for the city’s startup and small business community. Small business remains the lifeblood of the economy in the United States, and we should work together with groups like Peak Startup and the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center to make sure small businesses and tech startups thrive in Colorado Springs.
• Our final wish: For a more easy and secure relationship between our growing tourism sector and residents of Colorado Springs. We all deal with increased traffic, overuse of parks and mountain trails during the season that brings 23 million additional people to the Pikes Peak region. But they bring vital money and attention to Colorado Springs. We should increase the Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax — mostly paid by tourists and currently among the nation’s lowest — to be able to provide resources that improve infrastructure and repair damage caused by too many residents and visitors using our trails system and our parks.
Those are our wishes for 2020. Let us know what you’d like the new year to bring. Send your thoughts to email@example.com.