Recent letters to the editor from Gazette readers.
Most drivers won't use a toll lane
I completely disagree with The Gazette's editorial "Toll lanes make sense on the I-25 gap".
The problem we have today is that the four travel lanes in the gap are inadequate to handle the current traffic volume.
As most of us have witnessed in Denver, if a toll lane is added, the vast majority of drivers won't use it. This fact is embedded in the argument that the toll lanes will be faster than the other travel lanes (it's because the traffic in the toll lanes is light). If the majority of drivers don't use the toll lanes, then the volume of traffic in the existing lanes will remain substantially unchanged, or only a little bit reduced. I don't see a good argument that suggests that traffic flow in the existing lanes that handle the bulk of traffic will improve, or stay improved as volumes increase in the coming years.
It's not credible that adding toll lanes works for the majority of us taxpayers who will have paid for the added lanes but will get no significant benefit from them. It's also not credible to me that we won't wake up five years from now and realize that we still have a bottleneck in the gap, despite the added toll lanes.
Charles Rollman, Colorado Springs
Plan ahead for major growth
For once in Colorado, let's be forward thinking in our transportation needs while considering safety as well as speed. Why not four lanes in each direction of The Gap with the fourth lane being the toll road?
My wife and I own a business with locations between Colorado Springs and Denver. We, and our employees, travel The Gap almost daily. I voted "Yes" to use tax money to widen I-25 and am now in the group disheartened with the proposed toll road using our tax money.
Daily I-25 tie-ups add time to our day and cost us money, for sure. The argument in favor of the toll road is that it will help commuters who need to "zip" to Denver or Colorado Springs. While the proposed third toll lane would save time for those with money and need, what it won't do is make this stretch safer. The biggest issue with I-25 is having sufficient lanes to pass safely or to move over when there's a stopped vehicle on your right - whether it be a broken-down car, law enforcement or another emergency vehicle. In these cases, how many drivers will not change over to the toll lane for fear of tolls or a ticket? This will leave cars and large semis still confined to two lanes at 75 mph (85, 95?) while often passing on the right or not shifting over for emergency workers.
Let's plan ahead for the tremendous growth continuing in our state and make I-25 safer!
Patrick Graham, Colorado Springs
Toll road is double taxation
I must take issue with the editorial, "Toll lanes make good sense on the I-25 Gap" (December 7). Were toll roads included in what was voted on in November?
If yes, I'd surely love to take my vote back, giving local money to this project. A toll road in this case would result in double-taxation. There are numerous other reasons I wouldn't be in favor of a toll road to fix the I-25 Gap, but the main reason is the deception with regard to the ballot issue on which we recently voted.
Judy Bell, Colorado Springs
PERA needs fundamental change
State Treasurer Walker Stapleton's highlight of PERA's funding woes is spot-on, but his suggestion that more taxpayer money is not the solution does not go far enough. Structural change is needed.
Decades ago private sector companies, faced with the same math that confronts PERA, converted outdated and unwieldy "defined benefit plans" to "define contribution plans." Plan sponsors got out of the business of promising a lifetime of benefits at a certain level, committing instead only to how much would be contributed to the plan along the way. PERA and other public pensions must make this same fundamental shift to avoid certain calamity.
Radical? No, the U.S. military started down this road just a few years ago, recognizing the unpredictable and unmanageable nature of defined benefit plans.
No taxpayer bailout for PERA; fix the problem you created for yourself. Grandfather in current plan members beyond a certain age with legacy benefits and move newer and future participants into a plan that is sustainable. Anything less is doomed to fail.
Matt Coleman, Colorado Springs
Imperative to keep net neutrality
I have written to my elected officials in regard to net neutrality. I am a college student. Net neutrality has existed my whole life, up until it being threatened today. Net neutrality makes the internet accessible for everyone and it is imperative to keep it. I use the internet for everything. For studying, connecting with my friends, for music, for finding inspiration for my art. For promoting my art and getting my name out there. Changing net neutrality would change everything for me.
Please think about me and all of the other students when voting on net neutrality.
Ana Joyce, Monument
Thankful for help at car crash
On Nov. 11, I was involved in a car accident at Cimarron and Cascade Avenue about 3:30 p.m. I'd like to thank the wonderful people who gave me assistance and comfort on the scene - people like Matt from the Colorado Springs Fire Department, Kelly from the Sound Shop, Jennifer and the team from American Medical Response ambulance and the others whose names I didn't catch. Thank you for your kindness and support.
AnnaMaria Trupp Hughes, Colorado Springs