Citizen feedback on proposed PPRTA II list is mostly positive

       After getting a generally favorable response at two public open house/presentations on “PPRTA II,” City Transportation Manager Kathleen Krager was optimistic this week.

City Transpor-tation Manager Kathleen Krager talks with Phill Pollard, board member of the Soaring Eagles Homeowners Association, during a CONO meeting on the proposed PPRTA II project list June 5 in the PPACG building.
Westside Pioneer photo

       “I feel like the city's list is right on track with what we're hearing from the public,” she said.
       PPRTA II is the nickname for a proposed second 10-year span for the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA), starting in 2015. The city, along with El Paso County and several participating towns in the county, have been working for several months finalizing the list of transportation projects they want to put before voters - along with permission to continue the 1-cent sales tax - for PPRTA II in November.
       A milestone on that path will be Wednesday, June 13, at 1 p.m. when the RTA board, consisting of elected officials representing the county, the Springs and other municipalities, is scheduled to vote on the list at its monthly meeting at the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) building, 14 S. Chestnut St.
       Seven of the city A-list projects would be on the Westside, with another five on the B list (projects that are economy-dependent).
       According to information at the open houses, the PPRTA II has a much stronger emphasis on upgrades than at present. The current version, from the year 2005 to 2014, “is pretty much all new construction,” Krager said, while the proposed list has “49 percent going to reconstruction.”
       She said this was in response to public concerns, found in staff outreach efforts, that the current infrastructure is crumbling.
       Another change is evident in PPRTA II's “Other Ways to Get There” theme, which focuses on benefits to transit, trails and bicycles. For example, the city's A list this time has a budget for replacing fixed-route buses as well as working on seven trails, including the missing link in the Westside's Midland Trail.
       The June 5 open house, held at the PPACG building, was hosted by the Council of Neighbors and Organizations (CONO). CONO Board member John Nuwer said afterward that among 55 attendees from different neighborhoods around the city, PPRTA II drew strong approval, although less so for the “Other Ways” items.
       One of the “major themes,” according to Nuwer, was the fact, as summed up by past CONO president Jan Doran, that “every cent put into the PPRTA stays in the region.”
       The last of the three open houses before the RTA Board meets is scheduled Thursday, June 7 at 5:30 p.m. at the downtown City Administration Building.

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