Frequently Asked Questions
What is an RTA?
RTA is the acronym for Rural Transportation Authority. On November 2, 2004, the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority was approved by the voters of the City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, the City of Manitou Springs, and the Town of Green Mountain Falls to collect a one-percent sales tax to fund transportation and transit improvements. Fifty-five percent of the money will be used for a voter-approved list of capital projects, 35% will be used for additional maintenance (such as street overlays and pothole patching) and 10% will be used to expand the Springs Transit bus system.
Colorado State RTA law
How did the Pikes Peak RTA get started?
The formation of the Pikes Peak RTA was a collaborative effort of local governments and businesses that worked on a regional approach to addressing the transportation issues facing the Pikes Peak region.
Printable History (.pdf)
Establishing Intergovernmental Agreement
1A Ballot Language
Who manages the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA), sets the budget, sets priorities, and provides oversight?
A PPRTA Board of Directors has been chosen by the involved entities to oversee the decision-making process for the PPRTA. It is made up of three Colorado Springs City Council members, three El Paso County Commissioners, and one elected official each from the City of Manitou Springs, the Town of Green Mountain Falls, and the Town of Ramah. A 17-member PPRTA Citizens Advisory Committee has been appointed by the PPRTA Board to monitor the budget and expenditures of capital, maintenance, and transit projects and programs. An administrative contract has been agreed to with the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments to oversee daily administrative operations of the PPRTA. View the PPRTA Flow Charts.
Priority List A Project List
How long will this one-cent tax last?
The voters approved the collection of revenue for a duration of ten years; at the end of this ten-year period, the 1% rate drops to .45%, the maintenance and transit programs continue, but the capital project funding and work will sunset.
Why don't we use federal and state funds for these major projects?
In most cases, federal and state funds are restricted to projects on federal and state highways. Federal transit funds cannot be used for operation expenses; they can only be used for capital expenses such as the purchase of buses.
What is the county's biggest transportation concern?
The major concern is maintaining the aging infrastructure - roads, bridges, and drainage systems - in safe, reliable condition for public use. The county's infrastructure is large, with 1,076 miles of gravel roads, 901 miles of asphalt roads, 140 bridges, and many smaller structures. The current needs are coming from backlogged projects. Just in the asphalt program alone, there is a backlog of $28 million in needs. The county spends $1 million a year but has a backlog of $28 million. Another $22 million needs to be spent in the next eight years. System preservation (how to maintain roads and bridges) and the mobility issue (addressing surface upgrades and making roads accommodate the growing volume) are also concerns.
What are the financial impacts of traffic congestion or other transportation problems on individual citizens?
It costs the average commuter $1.25 for every mile spent in traffic jams. Communities with viable transit systems save households about $3,000 per year in transportation costs.
What is the top priority for transportation needs - is it maintenance, new projects, other?
Maintenance is number one, because if roads cannot be maintained at a certain level, then the public's investment is not being protected. If roads are not protected, ten years from now they will have to be completely reconstructed. The cost will then be $8 or $10 instead of $1.
Why did the City and County initiate discussions about an RTA?
The City and County realized that they shared a very serious problem. Colorado Springs is the most congested city in the country for cities of 500,000 or less. This is a regional problem, not just a city problem. County and City residents involved in creating PPRTA worked together as a team more so than in any other time in the region's history. County Commissioners and City Council members are working to solve this problem together.
How would residents in unincorporated El Paso County benefit from the RTA? Residents in unincorporated areas will benefit the same as residents in incorporated areas. They will see the benefits of new construction and maintenance and expanded transit services outside the corporate city limits of Colorado Springs.
What was the process followed to identify the regional projects that would make up the RTA capital improvements?
The Highway Advisory Commission (HAC) is made up of 9 members, 5 from each commissioner district and 4 at large. They met monthly at the Department of Transportation facility with the management team. This group presented a list of what they considered important projects for inclusion. They also had dollar numbers attached to this list. Over a period of about 60 days, the committee came up with a master list that they felt represented the input from HAC. The list was then integrated with CTAB's list and became part of the PPRTA.
How much will the RTA tax cost a household?
The one-cent sales tax will cost the average household approximately 42 cents per day. That would bring in roughly $60 million in revenue to do roadway projects.