The City of Colorado Springs is in hot pursuit of our tax dollars, and not just through the renewal of Ballot Question 2C.
We have been hearing from officials at the City of Colorado Springs that 2C money hasn’t been used for bike lane infrastructure. Yesterday, we published a blog showing they are doing just that. We also had some indication that Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) is involved in funding bike lane infrastructure in the City.
What is PPRTA? In 2004, voters passed a 1% sales tax increase to create PPRTA. It has a budget of over $100 million for 2018. If you shop anywhere in El Paso County or in the member cities of PPRTA, you are paying this tax.
As part of a recent Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request, we received documentation that Colorado Springs City staff plan to go before the PPRTA Board and ask permission to use funds for additional “road dieting” in Colorado Springs. Learn what a road diet is here. We’re not big fans of road diets in already congested cities.
As part of the request for PPRTA money, the City wants to both hire consultants to check for the feasibility of multiple road diets, and for the road dieting itself. This consulting would cost $125,000. Is anyone else visualizing more of our money being flushed down the toilet? We certainly are.
Take a look at this email and draft memo from the desk of the Senior Bike Planner. The memo line of this email reads like this:
“Notice of intention to use PPRTA program funds for traffic analysis that could result in transportation capacity reduction.”
So they’d like to use our PPRTA tax dollars to reduce the capacity of transportation? That isn’t quite what most folks think of when they consider how their transportation money is spent.
Back to the content of the draft memo.
The Colorado Springs Traffic Planning Department wants to use PPRTA money to change lanes currently dedicated to vehicles into bike lanes. The first step would be to hand over $125,000 to consultants to perform “data analysis.” Even before the City shares its plans with you, that $125,000 is already out the door.
The next step in the memo refers to public engagement. Forgive us for being suspicious about this part. Only 14 people attended the public process meeting before Chelton Rd. was narrowed.
After that would be the installation of the road diet, where traffic lanes would be removed, and bike lanes added.
As many of these planned projects are in the Southeast part of the City, we wonder where City Councilwoman Avila is on this plan? As a passionate advocate for her constituents, is she supportive of traffic lanes disappearing in the Southeast district? We hear from residents from all over the City, and we are not hearing that residents in Avila’s district are clamoring for bike lanes.
We’d appreciate you sharing this blog, and our other blogs from SpringsTaxpayers.com that address wasteful spending in local government. Tell your friends, co-workers, and local family members what we are learning in this fight against the renewal of 2C.