EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — In November, El Paso County voters will head to the polls and decide whether to extend a 10-year sales tax that funds road projects. Voters approved Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority’s (PPRTA) extension with 79.5% of the vote in 2014.
“The people of El Paso County in the past have understood how important this is to our transportation system and we hope that they’ll continue to understand that when they go to the polls this November,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers.
PPRTA is a local government authority with six participants.
“Virtually all of the residents of El Paso County, except for a few small municipalities, are within PPRTA,” Suthers explained.
In 2004 and again in 2014, El Paso County voters passed an extension with PPRTA to complete major road projects.
“Folks there’s something for people in every part of town, there are multiple projects,” Suthers said.
The November ballot question will list the exact projects, like Marksheffel Road, that PPRTA will complete over the next 10 years, with no tax increase.
“PPRTA is the only source that allows Colorado Springs and El Paso County to keep up with population growth and resulting in transportation needs,” Suthers said.
PPRTA is a one-cent sales tax and sends 35% back to participating governments, 10% to transit systems, and 55% to capital projects. If the initiative doesn’t pass, funding could come from the Federal Highway Administration, but Mayor Suthers said the city won’t see nearly as much.
“It’s something we can’t afford to lose, I consider it my highest priority in my remaining months as Mayor of Colorado Springs,” Suthers explained.
Several city officials are supporting the campaign and say it’s a necessity.
“It might even be suprising to some that I’m here supporting this ballot question to extend the program,” said El Paso County Commissioner Carrie Geitner.
Commissioner Geitner said she’s a limited government, low tax conservative, and consistently opposes any new taxes.
“I have and will continue to fight back against overreach from big state government spending, but PPRTA is the tool that protects citizens from those who dictate funding from our state,” Geitner said.
Former City Council President, Richard Skorman brought this initiative to our area back in 2004.
“It’s just as important today, in fact, it’s more important,” Skorman said. “I left my apron back at the business and I want to support this as much as I can, I don’t think there’s anything more important for our community.”