This article was published in the print edition of YourHub.com for Arvada, Wheat Ridge and Westminster on May 5, 2011.
At today's foreign currency exchange rates it is going to be expensive paying the toll in Euros rather than dollars to get on the 'Autopistas de Jeffco' (also known as the 'Jefferson Parkway') ... if it ever gets built.
For the political empire-builders occupying the seats of power in Jefferson County, Arvada and Broomfield, their preference is for global business to construct the ill-conceived 'Jefferson Parkway/Tollway'. On April 19, the Denver Post reported that "Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority officials said ... they are talking to a Madrid-based construction firm Isolux Corsán about financing, building and operating the 10-mile toll road in Jefferson County."
Despite the fact that this segment of highway was demonstrated to be unnecessary by the Northwest Quadrant Feasibility Study, these elected politicians are so greedy and cravenly power-hungry that they are eager to outsource this entire project of public infrastructure to a foreign corporation. If they sign a deal with Spain's Isolux Corsán corporation, we can rename the Parkway 'Autopistas de Jeffco'.
Why do the politicians want Isolux Corsán to takeover the entire toll road project?
Because the eyes of local potentates are filled with visions of skyscrapers, strip malls and housing tracts silhouetted in front of the mountain backdrop west of Arvada -- and all the tax revenue that future development might bring them.
The politicians are also afraid of going directly to the people of Jefferson County with their grand plan. One has to wonder, if the tollway is such a critical project, why don't the politicians do the American thing and go to the voters and taxpayers with a ballot question and tax request, instead of negotiating with a foreign corporation? Well, we know the answer: the people might say 'no' and the government 'leaders' and private developers would not get what they want.
Let's be plain, Jefferson Parkway Authority bargaining with a foreign corporation is an end-run around the voters and reeks of arrogance towards the county's citizens.
And understand if Isolux Corsán gets to build 'Autopistas de Jeffco' costs will be borne by the driving public -- a toll road like this is a permanent tax hike, yet the toll revenues head not to your local government, but into the bank account of a European corporation.
Our republic in 2011 faces great fiscal challenges in part because of slick politicians and insider lobbyists who have contrived these kinds of public-private, quasi-government ventures. In light of this, diminishing our U.S. and Colorado sovereignty with a foreign city-county-corporate deal ought to be a road too far.
Especially for us there are warning flags; if and/or when the 'Autopistas de Jeffco' finds it is having trouble meeting its debt obligations or paying its bills, as did Broomfield's Northwest Parkway toll road several years ago, who will bail-out Isolux Corsán? Jefferson County taxpayers should be very nervous!
In these days of rising gasoline prices and constrained family finances, a tollway is an outmoded transportation concept from the last century. It would be progress, however, if we returned to the American values of government working for all of the citizens instead of making a deal with a corporation from Spain to build a project that benefits only a very few.
We need basic improvements to roads and highways in Jefferson County, we need local government representatives to work on our behalf to that reasonable end -- we don't need the 'Autopistas de Jeffco'.
Foreign Ownership Diminishing U.S. Sovereignty | Sam Williford/EconomyInCrisis.org-March 4, 2011