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Large-scale county road improvements to be finalized in July

Posted at 8:09 PM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 22:22:20-04

EL PASO COUNTY — Large-scale road expansions could come to your neighborhood thanks to a drafted proposal from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) in El Paso County.

The PPRTA Board of Directors has proposed a 10-year expansion and improvement proposal for around 40 different roadways that, after being approved, will start in 2025.

Some of the larger projects in the proposal include expanding Powers Boulevard in two different places, and connecting it to I-25. Woodmen Road could see improvements and widening where needed while Marksheffel Road could receive enhanced bike and pedestrian accommodations and safer crossing at intersections.

Taxpayers fund these capital projects with a portion of a 1% sales tax in the county. Residents have been funding PPRTA projects since the tax was initially approved by voters in 2004 and again in 2019. Voters will get the chance to once again revisit the sales tax option on their ballots this November.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said the road improvements are essential right now with the growth the city is seeing.

"If you look at all the major projects around Colorado Springs, in the last 20 years in the Pikes Peak region, they've been PPRTA projects. Very, very expensive projects. We need to renew it," said Mayor Suthers. "It's really my highest priority in my last year as mayor because we've got to keep improving our infrastructure and expanding it to meet the growth demands of Colorado Springs."

Mayor Suthers said he wants to make sure people know the importance of PPRTA and what their work aims to achieve.

"Probably 30% of our public is new and don't understand completely what PPRTA is. We're gonna make sure we raise enough money to educate them about that. The fact of the matter is, in my opinion, we can't afford to lose it. This is so necessary to keep up with, you know, our infrastructure needs," he said.

El Paso County Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez, Jr. reiterates that the proposal is not finalized until July.

"I believe the El Paso County list is a strong representation of road projects that are a priority for county residents. However, the current list is not yet final until voted upon by the PPRTA board and so I continue to encourage residents to review the list and offer feedback," he said.

The PPRTA Board of Directors will finalize the proposal with a vote on July 13. Then, it will appear on voter's ballots come November with a choice to extend the 1% sales tax to continue funding major roadway construction.
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