Colorado should have great roads; vote to properly fund road maintenance (letter)
Editor’s note: Find a cited version of this letter at http://www.vaildaily.com.
A tapping on my window awakened me before sunrise on a school day. When I pulled back the curtains, my friends Christine and Carol stood there in their robes and wide grins. Christine pointed toward the curb where her parents’ Ford station wagon, in all its wood-paneled glory, was parked. They beckoned me to join them. I whispered that I was coming out the side door and pulled on my avocado-green quilted robe. With sponge rollers still in my hair, I tiptoed past my parents’ bedroom.
As the three of us squeezed into the front bench seat and Christine eased that station wagon down Trinidad Drive, the last thing on our minds was Christine’s lack of legal driving status. We were wild and free at 5 a.m., and driving was indelibly linked in my mind with freedom.
It is a freedom I exercise at every opportunity in Colorado. I love to drive, and I am guessing some of you do, too. One of my favorite routes is State Highway 9 down to Canon City. Others might argue U.S. Highway 24 is better. Still others prefer the Darwinian U.S. Highway 550 south from Ouray. Something the majority of us can agree upon is that our roads have seen better days and are in desperate need of repair.
Unfortunately, the money to do so is not there.
The gas tax that funds road maintenance has not been raised since the early 1990s. At the same time, our population has increased substantially — meaning more cars and wear and tear on our roads.
This November, there will be 13 state-level initiatives on the ballot. Two purport to address the funding shortfall afflicting our roads — only one really does. Proposition 110, “Let’s Go Colorado” would raise $20 billion in new revenue over two decades through a 0.62 sales tax and allow $6 billion in bonding authority. The funds raised would be shared between the state, counties, statewide transit initiatives, cities and towns. Furthermore, residents and visitors would share the tax burden.
The other initiative, Proposition 109, “Fix Our Damn Roads,” robs Peter to pay Paul. It is a one-time bonding authority for $3.5 billion that is far short of what is needed. Furthermore, it would require payback from the general fund, meaning the money would be taken from other critical functions such as health care and schools. State visitors would make no contribution. Not only that, it provides zero funding to cities and counties.
Please vote “yes” on Proposition 110. A state as great as Colorado should have great roads — and this is the real way to fix them.