EDITORíS DESK: True love: Never a smooth road

       This is a joyous time for regional drivers, with funding now all but assured for the six-lane plan to Monument. So far be it from this little window on the world to look askance in any way by pointing out how our region is increasingly taking it in the shorts on interstate funding and how the Cimarron/I-25 interchange somehow once again has been left high and dry. It's almost like a Hollywood marriage. At its March meeting, the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments' Board of Directors (consisting of regional elected officials) had solemnly vowed to make the interchange's first two phases and a new Eighth-and-Cimarron interchange cumulatively the region's top priority. The directors may have had previous "flings" with other projects - such as State Highway 16 near Fort Carson or the Academy/Woodmen interchange or even recently Fillmore/I-25 (not for flirty whims mind you, but based on sober analysis of area needs and/or funding opportunities). But this year, yessir, Cimarron/I-25 was really and truly what the board cared about. It was actually the first time in two years its directors had even voted to set a priority like that.
       But look how long the faithfulness lasted. The widening project, which had been a mere bullet item on the list in March, turned directors' heads in less than a month, wearing a slinky new funding plan. Helps a lot of motorists. Big cost savings. Only not quite so big for the region, considering that about 20 percent in local funds will be paying for it. And that's a growing number. In the not so distant past, state and federal sources rightfully paid 100 percent for interstate projects. How big might the local percentage demand be next year, when Cimarron/I-25 will supposedly again be the top priority and state transportation may be even more broke? But then adversity is always the best way to prove true love. Right?

- K.J.