Lindstrom, Lemon debate I-70’s future |

Lindstrom, Lemon debate I-70’s future

Scott N. Miller

GRAND JUNCTION – The future of the central mountains is tied to the future of Interstate 70. How that future unfolds occupied a good deal of debate time between a pair of candidates seeking to represent the region in Denver.Republican Heather Lemon and Democrat Gary Lindstrom debated I-70’s future and other topics, Sept. 11 at Club 20’s annual fall meeting in Grand Junction.Lindstrom, a Summit County Commissioner before he was appointed to the District 56 seat earlier this summer, told a small crowd he has worked on several I-70 plans over the years.”We don’t have one thing done in all that time,” Lindstrom said. “I’m tired of I-25 getting all the attention,” he added. “We need an advocate for I-70 on the Western Slope.”Asked about specific plans in the short and long term, Lindstrom said the short term goal of any plan should be getting people out of their cars, with an eye to transit systems in the longer term.Lemon countered with a call to enact parts of a plan proposed by the Colorado Department of Transportation calling for more lanes in some areas, as well as increased use of regional airports to get visitors into the mountains.A monorail system could be a long-term proposition, Lemon said, but only if the private sector paid for much of the system.Both said they opposed putting toll booths on existing lanes at the Eisenhower Tunnel, but Lemon said she favors tolling to build new lanes.As was the case with most debates, the topic of health care came up.Lemon said she favors letting individuals establish health savings accounts, as well as cutting down on state mandates and reforming a legal system that allows too many lawsuits.”Everyone should have access to health care,” Lindstrom said. “If that’s the government’s job, so be it.”Lindstrom also said he’d like to investigate the prospect of new or increased tourism-related business taxes to fund tourism promotion in the state. Lemon proposed establishing a system like one in place in Hawaii, which gives film production companies tax incentives and rebates to firms using the state’s name and scenery.Debate panelist Chris Green, an architect, asked both candidates about Amendment 34, a measure that would allow more lawsuits against home builders and sellers over construction defects.Lindstrom said he had been misquoted in a Summit County newspaper which reported he supports the measure.”I don’t support any amendments to the state constitution,” Lindstrom said. “I believe the legislature dropped the ball on this one.”Lemon said she also opposes Amendment 34.”You’re singling out one industry for unlimited liability,” she said. “Could you do business that way? It’s one of the worst things I’ve seen.”Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 613, or Colorado

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