A recent letter to the editor undervalued the Boulder County Transportation Department’s road fund and grossly underestimated the county’s prioritization of road maintenance. The 2010 Road & Bridge Fund totals more than $19.2 million and Boulder County is spending more than $11 million on road maintenance and reconstruction. The remainder is used to add shoulders, improve intersections and increase transit service.
The county makes a significant annual investment in its transportation system despite the fact that we have seen major reductions of available funding for road construction. Because of TABOR, the gas tax has not increased since 1992. Meanwhile, the cost of road construction (materials such as concrete and oil, and labor) has essentially doubled, leaving us with half as much money to pay for road projects.
The county is also dealing with decreasing revenues from sales tax and the Specific Ownership Tax, which is the one kind of property tax – a tax on the value of vehicles – that has a direct relationship to the need for roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure.
That diminished buying power means that more than ever we must focus our limited repaving dollars on the major arterial roadways serving the most people.
Moreover, that philosophy of serving the most people is why I believe it would be very difficult to reallocate General Fund dollars for the paving of subdivision roads in the unincorporated county – roads that serve only 10 percent of county taxpayers.
More than 80 percent of county residents live in municipalities and their streets are not reconstructed with county dollars. It is not feasible to use money collected from everyone to pay for roads that serve such a small number. Tax revenue must be used for a variety of services that have public value and serve the interests of the county at large.
Boulder County Transportation Director