Nothing but a sales pitch
I attended the CDOT listening session at the Penrose House Conference with the objective of learning more about the I-25 Gap project and to ask the CDOT folks questions regarding to my concerns.
I was very disappointed in the well-polished presentation because there was no balance in the presentation of the two options for expanding I-25, an additional lane or an express toll lane. It was clear that the CDOT representatives had made their mind up well in advance that they want to build the toll express lanes.
As an engineer, I would have expected to see an analysis of the two choices with the features, advantages, and benefits of each as well as the risks associated with each. There was nothing like this for either option, only how great the toll lanes will be.
A member of the audience asks about the cost of the I-25 expansion in 2014 from Academy to Monument. After several minutes of cellphone searching by the CDOT folks, the answer was about $6 million per mile. The $350 million price tag for this comes out to be $19.4 million per mile or more than a 50 percent per mile increase relative to the Academy to Monument section. How much of this additional expense can be attributed to the cost of development and construction of the express lanes? It is obvious to the most casual observer that building express lanes will increase the cost. The unanswered question is how much?
We were told that the tolls collected would not be used to build the road, just maintain it.
There was no discussion how this would be accomplished. This will require an accounting structure that won't be free?
How much of the toll money will be available for maintenance? Will this 18-mile section be smooth while the pavement on either ends fall apart? Lots of unanswered questions here.
We were told that the goal of the express lanes was to attract 20 percent of the traffic away from the two free lanes. With the forecasted traffic increase in this highway the express lanes won't solve the problem, as the number of cars will increase in the free lanes. This means that after spending $350 million we will be worse off than before.
I said earlier that the "listening session" was nothing but a sales pitch. There was no recording or taking of notes when the members of the audience spoke. The good news was we had two members of the El Paso County commissioners in the audience, and they saw this.
Comment on editorial, news coverage
Congratulations to The Gazette for your Sunday editorial about "zero emission vehicles." This canard has been around too long and seldom challenged. Your factual article helps expose this mislabeling. On the other hand, your "news" article "Trump seized on memo even before reading it", written by The Associated Press, should have appeared in an opinion section, not a news section. It is so one-sided and disingenuous to not be considered news.
During this horrific flu season
Walking across the parking lot Friday at the Audubon Medical Center, a man coming toward me was coughing heavily into his handkerchief. Then he spat on the ground. Disgusting at any time, a danger to everyone nearby during this horrific flu season. I'm a senior with COPD so have been deliberately staying away from public places for the past month. However, I had a doctor's appointment to attend, and I assume this man had just been to his.
Gentlemen, please carry a packet of tissues when you are sick and out and about; to cough, blow your nose, and most importantly spit into, then discard your tissues away from the public.
Other reasons for our growth
The facts of a strong migration of millennials flocking to Colorado Springs as expressed by Tom Binnings of Summit Economics may be true in some respects, but way off in other areas. Binnings seems to suggest that it's because of Doug Bruce and Focus on the Family's winding down as an influence.
I say there is a strong basis of why they became the springboard for our growth, not to mention good city councils that Binnings could never get on. Our growth comes because we have the finest police force in the nation for a city our size.
Conservatism is why so many people, especially millennials, have left the liberal cities. Let's not forget the other group of millennials that have come here for the marijuana. Binnings would have us believe we have become more liberal. I say it's because we have not.
Disrespect for the flag intended
In Friday's 'Your Viewpoint,' Gail Calloway was talking about the taking of a knee within the NFL. I quote: "...no respect to the flag is intended".
I would quote from another newspaper article where Kaepernick was quoted as saying "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people...". The article continues: He vowed to continue to protest until he feels the U.S. flag "represents what it's supposed to represent."
Yes, Gail, disrespect for the flag was intended.
Thankful players stood for anthem
Thank you to all the players who stood for the national anthem at the Super Bowl, from a proud veteran.