COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Voters in El Paso County will have to choose in November whether to renew a sales tax that's paid for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of road improvements over the decades.
The Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority first established a one percent sales tax when it was approved by voters in 2004. It was then renewed in 2012.
The proposed PPRTA 3 would spend roughly $1 billion over a decade on a long list of capital projects. Some of the larger project include a long-awaited extension of Powers Boulevard to Voyager Parkway, improvements to Marksheffel Road between Woodmen and North Carefree, and improvements to Woodmen Road between Powers and US24.
There are 71 currently capital projects paid for by PPRTA 2 sales tax extension. Some, like the extension of Centennial Boulevard between Fillmore and Fontenero, are just beginning.
Other projects have been underway for several months like the widening of Black Forrest Road between Woodmen and Research. Many more projects wrapped up construction years ago like the redesigned intersection at Woodmen and Union.
The money collected from the 1 percent sales tax is split 45/55. The 0.45 percent tax was made permanent when the ballot question first passed and is used to pay for ongoing road maintenance as well as to support transit programs.
The 0.55 percent dedicated to capitol projects must be renewed every decade. PPRTA 2 won't expire until the end of 2024. However, the municipalities taxed by PPRTA are asking voters to renew early because of the timelines associated with construction projects.
Many road projects require months of engineering work before their put out for bid meaning it could take up to a year or more before construction begins.
There are six jurisdictions in El Paso County that make up the transit authority. The cities of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, the towns of Ramah, Calhan, and Green Mountain Falls, and unincorporated El Paso County.
When the PPRTA was renewed in 2012, it passed with 79.5 percent approval.
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