The proposed legislation drafted by the 'we know best' Jefferson County Commissioners to create a 'Beltway Completion Authority' won't be introduced in this session of the Colorado legislature after all.
So, the first good news is thus reported in the press release below from the City of Golden.
The second good news is the statement issued by the Jefferson County League of Women Voters opposing the boondoggle tollway; see their press release at the bottom of this page.
The bad news is revealed in some diligent reporting done by Jim Smith -- the good ol'boy club of the Jefferson County Commissioners is and has been spending millions of dollars promoting this unnecessary beltway/tollway scheme. Some of this manipulation of taxpayer's dollars seems to be of a questionable nature.
Read Jim Smith's article in the middle of this web page.
Citizens of Jefferson County should be demanding that the three Jefferson County Commissioners and the oligarchs of the Arvada city government stand before us and answer some serious questions.
Why did they draft and support a piece of proposed legislation that would give 'super' governmental power to a 'Beltway Completion Authority'?These and many more pointed question need to be answered directly by the Jeffco commissioners, the officers of the so-called Jefferson Parkway Authority, and the 20th century throw-backs on the Arvada city council.
Do they really believe in the concept of "dominant eminent domain"?
Are they really so power hungry that they would usurp the legitimate rights of towns, cities and landowners ... to favor a fee-per-trip roadway that would facilitate more suburban sprawl?
Were they so determined to get their way as government officials that they would impose this tollway without demonstrating hard evidence that it improves traffic flow?
Would they show us all their campaign contributions from interests that benefit from the construction of this tollway?
Do they have such contempt for the regular process of government and the courts that they would prevent the rights of neighborhoods, communities and citizens to sue in order to preserve health, safety and property rights?
But, you know they will be the last to meet with regular citizens and answer questions -- they know they already know what is best for us.
This 'Beltway Completion Authority' draft legislation and the way the Jeffco commissioners have been spending our money to promote this special interest road construction is a scandal.
The politicians shouldn't be allowed to run away and hide. Questions need to be asked ... and answered.
Proposed toll road bill won’t be introduced after all
Golden, Colo. — April 23, 2012 — We have positive news to report.
Last week, we told Golden residents about a proposed bill that would have deeply eroded local control and could have allowed Jefferson Parkway proponents to push a toll road through Golden without considering the needs of our community.
Today, we’re pleased to report that we’ve been told that the bill will not be introduced this legislative session.
This very positive news is a testament to the focus and energy of citizens who have made their voices heard on these issues. We were also aided by the leaders of some neighboring cities who were concerned that the proposal overreached and undermined regional cooperation.
While we don’t know yet exactly why the threat of the bill was withdrawn, we are grateful that cool heads prevailed.
Golden has been and remains committed to productive dialogue with neighboring municipalities and counties about how to address the transportation challenges our region faces. But we made it clear that we could not productively discuss these issues with the threat of detrimental legislation hanging over our heads.
We appreciate your continued interest in these issues and we’ll continue to update you on important developments as they occur.
From Citizens Involved in the Northwest Quadrant (CINQ) ---
CINQ Comments: This is another fine article by Jim Smith, Golden resident, realtor and CINQ board member. Jim has done some investigation, and he tells us that Jeffco Commissioners have put $6.325M in cash into advancing the Jefferson toll road. The cash has come from the general and Open Space funds. This amount of money does not account for staff time which is likely considerable. While county services are being cut back, including libraries, commissioners are using funds that are clearly not appropriate to advance a private endevour. We call on groups such as Plan Jeffco and others to look into this mis-use of funds, and consider legal action. This news is just another example of the inappropriate and eggregious behavior by Jeffco Commissioners. Take a moment to contact county commissioners. Both Faye Griffin and John Odom are up fror re-election this fall.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 303-271-8525
By Jim Smith
Last week I described the effort by Jefferson County’s Board of Commissioners to introduce legislation which would create an authority with “super eminent domain” powers to complete the beltway from northeast of Highway 36 though Jeffco and Golden to connect with C-470.
This Monday, that effort was killed by the commissioners themselves, following quite a backlash from the public and from legislators who considered the proposal a massive overreach and an unwarranted gutting of long established local powers.
Commissioner Don Rosier told me at press-time (Tuesday) that the Governor and CDOT requested that they drop the proposal and return to the negotiating table.
Prior to this short-lived effort, the Commissioners had essentially given up forcing a beltway though Golden and had created a public highway authority to solicit private investors for a toll-road north of Golden connecting Highway 93 and Highway 120 but leaving gaps south through Golden and between Highway 120 and the beltway’s current end east of the Boulder Turnpike. (Nevertheless, the Commissioners and the highway authority continue to promote their toll road as “completing the beltway,” and the press has generally picked up on that inaccurate and lame phraseology.)
The proposed legislation was perceived by toll road critics (including myself) as a desperate last ditch effort to get the beltway completed, since negotiation with Golden to drop its opposition to the toll road had backfired and even led to Golden filing suit against the use of contaminated Rocky Flats land for part of the right-of-way. An equally questionable strategy (already in place) for establishing the “privately funded” toll road has been the use of Jeffco Open Space funds (from sales tax revenue) to facilitate purchase of the 300-foot right-of-way though Rocky Flats. Here’s how it was explained to me by Assistant County Administrator Kate Newman:The County gave $1.225 million in general funds to the toll road authority, which put those funds into escrow to buy the 300-foot right-of-way. Meanwhile, the County put $5.1 million of Open Space funds into escrow as its contribution to the purchase of another parcel (Section 16) to be deeded over to US Fish & Wildlife, but that fully-funded transaction only closes when and if the authority closes on the right-of-way purchase.I wouldn’t be surprised if this comingling of purposes were to trigger another lawsuit over the misuse of Open Space funds.
Jefferson Parkway meets opposition from Jeffco League of Women Voters
The proposed Jefferson Parkway does not meet smart 21st century sustainable transportation goals, according to the League of Women Voters of Jefferson County. “We oppose the proposed private toll road on many levels," said LWV Jeffco President Ann Roux. “It fails our tests for adequate public input and transparency, government accountability, and economic sustainability.”
The League’s opposition to the proposed parkway stems from its in-depth study of the toll road, and is based on its consensus-driven standards for evaluating any highway proposal.
The parkway’s route through the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge needs updated analysis, the League believes. Since the original Environmental Impact Statement was completed, new proposals for commercial and residential development on the east, south, and west refuge boundaries have surfaced.
Costs to taxpayers should be clarified. Estimated costs for area governmental entities and the Colorado Department of Transportation range from $300 million to $500 million to construct interchanges at the north and south ends of the toll road in order to actually complete the metro area beltway.
The League further believes that questions about the long term consequences of the parkway should be answered. Does it mesh with land use goals for the area? Have all alternatives, including public transit, been considered? Have all environmental impacts, such as those to wildlife and scenic vistas, been assessed? Will the public interest be served if a non-compete clause were included in a private investor’s contract prohibiting improvements along arterials abutting the parkway?
“Until this is information is provided, we will continue to oppose the Jefferson Parkway private toll road,” said Roux.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Visit the League’s website, www.lwvjeffco.org, email us at email@example.com or call us at 303-238-0032 to learn more about the Jeffco League’s activities.