NOREEN: Biggest Colorado project? It's DIA

BARRY NOREEN Updated: January 3, 2013 at 12:00 am • Published: January 3, 2013

Reader T.A. Arnold wants to know: “Is it true, or not, that Utilities’ SDS project is the costliest municipally-funded proposal ever undertaken in the history of Colorado? Of course, that question must be examined in the context of adjusted present value for the year in which the project was approved (July, 2009) by City Council, acting as the Utilities Board. Also, SDS must be considered only in relation to other solely municipally-funded projects which excludes any federal, state or county financial participation.”

Mr. Arnold, despite the precise question, it defies a precise answer. But I’ll give it the best I’ve got.

First off, the construction cost of Colorado Springs’ Southern Delivery System is about $1 billion. It is not being funded with tax dollars, but by ratepayers. Not all of the ratepayers are in Colorado Springs — Pueblo West (a metro district, not a municipality) unincorporated Security-Widefield and Fountain all are partners.

Thus SDS is not “solely municipally funded.” But when one considers the scope of SDS, the length of its pipeline, the amount of water to be delivered — then it’s arguable that SDS will be the biggest water project when it is operational in 2016.

Because SDS does not meet the definition of being solely funded by a municipality, I’ll simply compare it to other capital projects. To date, the most expensive capital project in Colorado history is Denver International Airport, coming in at $4.8 billion.

After that you’d have to consider the final 12-mile segment of I-70 through Glenwood Canyon, a job begun in 1980 and completed in 1992 for $492 million. It’s difficult to pinpoint, but the bulk of that money was spent 25 years ago.

Reader Lois Martinez has heard legislators may abolish the death penalty. “A few years ago Colorado voted heavily in favor of the death penalty. What happened? Why is our vote being ignored?” Lois asked.

Searching through the last 100 years’ worth of ballot measures, I could not find any concerning the death penalty. Across the nation the pendulum has been swinging against the death penalty in recent years.

However, the Colorado Observer web site reported Dec. 31 that a new poll conducted by national pollster Dave Sackett found that 68 percent of Coloradans oppose abolishing the death penalty and only 27 percent favor the position taken by Colorado Democrats.

Hear Barry Noreen on 
KRDO NewsRadio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM at 6:35 a.m. Fridays. Contact him at 636-0363 or 
barry.noreen@gazette.com.

 

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