Vote to continue RTA seen in November 2012
Could mean quicker completion of Centennial

       In less than two years, area residents may get to vote on continuing the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA).
       Kathleen Krager of City Transportation Planning revealed the earlier-ballot strategy at a meeting of the Mesa Springs Community Association Jan. 11.
       “We're looking at November 2012,” she told the group. “It will be a presidential election year, which means more people will be voting.”
       If not renewed, the PPRTA would sunset after 2014. In November 2004, voters approved the 1 percent sales tax to help with local transportation needs, and its 10- year run started in January 2005.
       The election timing could prove significant to Mesa Springs and the Westside. Currently, completion of the four-lane Centennial Boulevard extension between Fillmore Street and the Fontanero/I-25 interchange only ranks as a “C” on the RTA priority list. The '04 ballot language guaranteed that the RTA would build all the A-list items, then move to the B's or C's if a strong economy generated sufficiently high tax revenues. But with the current economy, being on the C list means “See you later,” Krager quipped.
       An RTA sequel would give a much higher priority to the Centennial extension, which has risen in importance because of development in that area, increasing congestion on Fillmore Street and cut-through traffic along Chestnut Street through Mesa Springs.
       If voters approve the RTA again in 2012, “we could get this [Centennial] built by 2014 or 2015,” Krager said.
       Part of the extension has already been built by developers. A subdivision on the MVS property southwest of Centennial and Van Buren Street (conceptually approved by City Council in December) could lead to additional segments of the extension being added, leaving less than a half-mile at the southern end as the city's share. But if MVS does not move forward quickly, Krager said the city could avoid a roadbuilding delay by setting the RTA project estimate high enough to cover all the needed work - then recouping the developer's share of the cost whenever the subdivision goes in.
       During meeting discussion, Mesa Springs residents did not contest Krager's RTA strategy, but asked about noise abatement, a possible stoplight at Chestnut Street and pedestrian safety when the extension does finally connect to the existing, dead-end Fontanero west of the interchange. Krager had no answers to such detailed questions at this time, but said they will be scrutinized during the design phase.
       At the end of her talk, Krager told the Mesa Springs residents, “this could be a good project for your neighborhood. I'm looking forward to the day when there's not so much traffic on Chestnut.”

Westside Pioneer article