Voters likely won’t get to decide whether public transit should get a bigger share of a 1-cent sales and use tax that funds road construction and maintenance projects and public transit.
Officials from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, its Citizen Advisory Committee and a Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce task force agreed in a joint meeting Monday that the formula for dividing up the tax shouldn’t be changed, when a renewal question is brought to the ballot in November 2012.
Under the 2004 voter-approved division of revenue, public transit gets 10 percent of the 1 percent tax that’s collected in unincorporated El Paso County, the cities of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, and the towns of Green Mountain Falls and Ramah.
Maintenance projects receive 35 percent, and capital construction projects 55 percent. The latter sunsets in 2014. Transportation officials agreed Monday to bring a renewal measure before voters next November.
A nearly year-long study of the local public transportation system, called the Future of Regional Transportation, had looked at the possibility as a way to boost revenue for the city of Colorado Springs-operated system because it has experienced drastic budget cuts in recent years.
Other agreements reached Monday:
– The PPRTA board would refer the measure to the ballot and pay for the cost, an estimated $200,000 to $350,000.
– Gross revenue for the RTA is estimated at $69 million per year
– Future projects should be reprioritized for voter approval
– Projects will shift from large-scale ones to relieve traffic congestion to smaller, ones to sustain and improve existing infrastructure
– Still to be decided: Whether the extension should be for 10 or 12 years and whether voters should be presented with just one project list instead of three lists, which is what voters approved in 2004. Projects on only the A list are likely to be completed before the existing capital tax expires in 2014. But there are projects on a B list and a C list that won’t be addressed. The PPRTA’s Citizen Advisory Committee will review those and other issues and make a recommendation to the PPRTA board, the final decision-maker on the plans.
Former County Commissioner Douglas Bruce advised the group to reconsider referring a renewal measure to the ballot next year, saying it should be brought to voters in 2014, when it expires, not before.