The state, city and county are promoting a $93 million improvement project for the Paseo / I-25 interchange and are asking voters to approve bonds in November without carefully considering the important questions:
1) What is the return on investment? What will taxpayers be getting for their $93 million beyond the very short-term relief in traffic congestion at this location?
2) Have the life cycle costs been considered? If the project is completed, how much will it cost to operate and maintain? Have those funds been identified? Taxpayers want to be sure that our investments are protected for the long-term, not just on ribbon-cutting day.
3) Is there a plan to effectively address future Westside growth in a thoughtful manner, or will the taxpayers be asked again to provide a bailout for poor planning sometime in the future?
4) Is a single highway interchange in the metro area the best use of $30 million from the state when compared to the $3 million the legislature authorized for expansion of Pre-K programs statewide this year, for example?
5) Is a highway interchange the best use of $50 million from the city, or could we leverage more economic activity in the community by funding fifty - $1 million projects, or a hundred - $500,000 projects? Would the ripple effects of multiple investments made throughout the community be significantly greater than a one-time highway improvement project to relieve the congestion and frustration for drivers along this corridor?
6) Has anyone examined potential alternative transportation solutions to this bottleneck which might get more drivers out of their cars? Common wisdom tells us that the project will only bring short-term relief to drivers until new vehicles fill in the increased capacity.