A tax extension to continue to improve area roads and bridges appeared headed for victory with about 93 percent of the vote recorded Tuesday.
About 72 percent of votes counted were in favor of extending 55 percent of the one-penny-per-dollar sales tax to fund specific capital transportation projects under the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority.
The 10-year tax would renew in 2015 and last through 2024.
“This is better than ever expected,” said county commissioner Dennis Hisey, chairman of the PPRTA board. “It just tells me how much the people appreciate us doing what we said we were going to do. That is absolutely incredible. I want to thank everybody who voted for it.”
Hisey said the extension wasn’t a tough sell.
“There was a campaign, but the people recognized the good (PPRTA) did.”
PPRTA was approved by voters in 2004, with 45 percent of the tax — 35 percent for maintenance and 10 percent for transit — not expiring.
PPRTA members are the city of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Manitou Springs, Green Mountain Falls and Ramah. Officials from each entity decided on their list of projects, which appeared on the ballot. The 150 A-list projects must be completed before work on the B list begins.
Some of the top PPRTA projects completed in the past eight years include the Woodmen Road and I-25 interchange, the Austin Bluffs Parkway and Union Boulevard overpass, the Cimarron Street bridge east of I-25, the Union and Fillmore Street intersection, Marksheffel Road and the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail.
“I think that folks, even in this county, have the ability to pick and choose and decide what it is they want to pay for,” county commissioner Sallie Clark said.
Calhan voters were close to approving a similar measure to fix roads in their town. The one percent sales tax garnered 50 percent (155 votes) for the tax and 47 percent (147 votes) against.
A year ago, Calhan voters chose not to join PPRTA but reversed that decision in an April election. A technical oversight led to the town not joining PPRTA, so Mayor Blair Bartling and the town council offered voters the chance to approve a tax to fix Calhan’s bridge and roads.
Contact Bob Stephens: 636-0276 Twitter @bobgstephens
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