PPACG finds consensus on top transportation goal, but not on the other 16

       Everyone gave a top ranking to the goal of preserving and rehabilitating the transportation system in a recent outreach effort by the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG).
       This was ranked as the highest of 17 possible regional goals recently in opinions from a phone survey, four geographically selected focus groups and members of two government-appointed committees.
       However, beyond that, consensus was elusive on the 16 other long-range transportation goals considered by those different citizen groups, according to an analysis by the PPACG staff .
       Staffers even threw out the results of the focus groups in their report to the PPACG Board of Directors. “There were no clear priorities,” Brian Vitulli, a senior transportation planner ex-plained at the board's July 13 meeting. “Depending on the region, the results were very different.”
       Referring also to the phone survey - 500 respondents, including cell-phone-only households selected on the basis of geography, age, income and race - Vitulli said in a written report that the citizen outreach results “show that the region lacks true consensus as to which criteria are most important.”
       On Vitulli's recommendation, the PPACG board voted to approve the average goal “weighting” from responses to the phone survey and the opinions from the appointed Citizens and Transportation advisory committees (CAC and TAC). “This maintains the relationship between the criteria and the lack of consensus on importance of criteria that was identified during the outreach,” Vitulli wrote.
       This average resulted in giving the second highest weight to system connectivity, third to reduced road congestion, fourth to safety and fifth to cost effectiveness.
       Sallie Clark, chair of the PPACG board, observed that reduced greenhouse gas emissions was “pretty low on all of them [the responses].”
       That goal, in fact, had the lowest weight of the 17 goals in the average of the CAC, TAC and phone-survey responses.
       As the region's planning agency, the PPACG is required by federal law to update its regional transportation plan (RTP) every four years. The board had approved 17 goals - but without prioritization - after recommendations from staff and volunteer participants at workshops last fall and winter. The PPACG board is scheduled to approve the updated RTP as a whole next year.
       The PPACG board members are elected officials from city and county governments in the region comprising El Paso, Park and Teller counties.

Westside Pioneer article