EDITORíS DESK: Careful, bureaucrats, with RTA wording
When the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) was presented to voters in 2004, the ballot item included a list of proposed projects, ranked into categories of A, B and C. The list formula was very simple: Once the A-list items were done, the RTA would move to the B list, and the same for the C list.
(Never mind for the sake of this opus that, as it turned out, there was barely enough money to fund all the A projects, so the C list never even came into play, and thus such a low-priority ranking isn't even being considered this time around.)
The discussion point here is that in planning an RTA "sequel" to go before voters this fall, the agency's government-entity members are looking at changing the formula. The thinking is, in these uncertain economic times, an A-lister might get blocked for different reasons (typically money) while a B-lister might suddenly get a grant from somewhere and become "shovel-ready." So why tie the hands of local officials when, with the addition of a single sentence or phrase, more flexibility could be provided?
A discussion on this matter took place at the March 14 RTA meeting. Tightness of space in this Westside Pioneer edition prevented our writing more in the RTA news article, but suffice it to say that nearly all the government representatives on the RTA board voted in approval of the change. I have no doubts that they believe the flexibility will let them be more efficient public servants. But also persuasive were the minority opinions of County Commissioners Sallie Clark and Amy Lathen. They wondered aloud whether the public trust established by the first RTA would be put in jeopardy by "getting funky with the language," as Lathen put it.
For what it's worth, I agree with them. Why should bureaucrats have the right to switch around what voters approved? Besides, the flexibility scenario might not even occur. Is it worth jeopardizing the whole RTA on such a premise?