Last updated 3:59PM ET
December 14, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Governor's Transportation Panel Visits Durango
(2007-09-11)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Southwest Coloradans spoke out Monday on Transportation issues facing this corner of the state.
Their audience was members of Governor Bill Ritter's Blue Ribbon Panel on Transportation Finance and Implementation.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

VICTOR: Most of the 32 members of the panel came to Durango's Recreation Center as part of their effort to identify long term sustainable programs and funding for transportation.
In the audience were about 50 members of the public and community officials from the 15 Southwest Colorado Counties that make up C-DOT's Region 5.
Representatives of the three Transportation Planning Regions or TPR's contained in Region 5 detailed their needs for the panel.
Among the issues most prevalent: Rock falls, avalanches, reducing Animal Vehicle Impacts or AVI's, and in general, maintaining an aging road system, all of which will cost billions of dollars, which the state doesn't have.
C-DOT Executive Director Russ George says it's the fifth hearing the panel's held, and they're hearing different concerns at each.
GEORGE: ALL AROUND THE STATE, CONDITIONS ARE DIFFERENT, THE TOPOGRAPHY OF THE STATE, OF COURSE, VARIES GREATLY FROM ONE SIDE TO THE OTHER, SO THE VALUE OF COMING OUT INTO EACH DIFFERENT AREA AND TALKING TO THE PEOPLE GIVES THE PANEL TO SEE THE UNIQUE CHALLENGES, THE WAY CONDITIONS EXIST TODAY AND THEREFORE TRY TO PUT TIME AND DOLLARS ONTO WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO IMPROVE ALL THE AREAS ACROSS THE STATE.
George termed the challenges facing Southwest Colorado as very dramatic, given the topography and weather.
One common thread at all hearings, however, has been the lack of funding for roads.
It's an issue State Treasurer and Panel Member Cary Kennedy says the state needs to come to grips with by coming up with new sources of funding in addition to the gas tax, which hasn't been adjusted in Colorado for 20-years.
KENNEDY: THE PANEL IS CONSIDERING BOTH OPTIONS. YOU CAN LOOK AT OPTIONS WHERE REALLY THE FOLKS WHO USE THE ROADS PAY FOR THEM, THAT IS WHAT THE FUEL TAX IS DESIGNED TO DO. THE PANEL IS ALSO LOOKING AT OPTIONS THAT SPREAD THOSE COSTS OVER THE WHOLE POPULATION WITH MORE BROADBASED TAXES. PEOPLE GENERALLY FAVOR A USER PAYS METHODOLOGY FOR PAYING FOR TRANSPORTATION, BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS REGION OF THE STATE THERE HAS TO BE SIGNIFICANT SUBSIDIES COMING IN, JUST BECAUSE THE COST OF MAINTAINING THE INFRASTRUCTURE OUT HERE IN THIS CLIMATE AND THIS ALTITUDE IS MUCH HIGHER.
The Blue Ribbon Panel also listened to comments from the public.
Several Durango area speakers said the state should emphasize alternative modes of transportation which could prove less expensive and easier to implement.
Kendra Holmes represents the Durango Safe Roads Coalition.
HOLMES: IN WHAT WAYS WILL THE GOVERNOR'S TASK FORCE ENCOURAGE ALTERNATIVE MODES AND DISCOURAGE OUR CONTINUED USE OF ONE CAR, ONE PERSON TRANSPORTATION?
Mary Monroe, director of Trails 2000, told members trails are less costly, less polluting means of transportation.
And she made a pitch for a pathway beneath State Highway 550 in Durango.
MONROE: THINKING ABOUT TRAIL CONNECTIVITY, AND ONCE WE INSTITUTE OUR DOWNTOWN SIDEWALK PLAN, HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET BIKE AND PED USERS FROM THE ANIMAS RIVER TRAIL ACROSS CAMINO DEL MORTA, TO 12TH STREET.
The blue ribbon panel is scheduled to present its findings to the Governor in November.
Those findings could be the basis for a statewide transportation plan that could require legislative as well as voter approval, or more, next year.
From KSUT, Four Corner's Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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