EDITORíS DESK: The RTA on the election trail

       We devoted a fair amount of space this edition to the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) and its proposed extension of the .55 percent capital improvement portion of the 1 percent RTA sales tax that area citizens have been paying since 2005 after approving the initial 10-year list of capital projects at the election of November 2004.
       OK, I just realized that opening sentence is almost impossible to absorb without deep breaths, a walk in the park after the fourth or fifth line and maybe even holding the page sideways.
       But it does represent the inherent difficulty of trying to explain the inner workings of Issue 5A on the Nov. 6 election ballot. I mean, it's so much easier to say the election will be either yes or no on the tax. But the reality is that voters in '04 approved part of it indefinitely. That's the .35 percent for maintenance and .10 percent for transit.
       It's also not that easy to explain how the RTA functions. Some people had the suspicion - and perhaps still do - that the '04 election created some new layer of bureaucracy. Except that it didn't. For one thing, another part of the '04 vote specified that no more than 1 percent of the RTA's sales tax's earnings in a year could be used for administration. That typically limits it to $500,000 to $600,000 - and even those numbers have never been closely approached. The RTA "staff" actually consists of employees of the member governments. They plan and manage RTA projects as part of their regular jobs - it's just that the money is coming from a different "bucket," as bureaucrats like to say.
       It's not my intent here to be a cheerleader for the RTA. To be honest, I think the project funding might be a little "loose" in places, and I'm not in love with every project. But overall, considering the value it adds to our community, that sales tax is worth every penny... well, OK, .55 percent this election. Right. And hold the page sideways.

- K.J.