Letter: No surprise about CDOT
With pain, I read the Post Independent’s Oct. 30 article about our City Council being “in the dark” about the bridge project’s startup and their apparent surprise at how their new relationship with CDOT was beginning. Not looking to throw fuel on the flames or even begin to say, “We told you so,” but many of us who have opposed this project from the get-go never expected any other outcome in dealing with CDOT.
Maybe it’s just a natural tendency to simply not trust any government entity? Maybe it’s just another government agency that seems to have forgotten that they work for the citizens and fund their projects and salaries through our hard-earned and ever-shrinking income? From the beginning, this whole project appeared like a CDOT plan to get traffic off of I-70 to Aspen, with little concern for existing local transportation problems and issues.
More times than not, whenever I voiced my opposition to this project to those promoting it, they seemed to have the same response. “Ed, you are so naïve. We are talking about a $100 million infrastructure project that is being handed to us. You just don’t turn that down.” The project has not even begun to get off the ground and we are already hearing that CDOT is moving ahead without proper communication with our City Council on issues that will soon cause congestion in our town. This is the council that has fully backed and promoted this project. This is the council that never felt the need to put this project to a vote of the community. This is the Colorado Department of Transportation that used a very talented employee to be the face of this project, with full knowledge that this employee would be retired as soon as the project was approved.
We now hear that we won’t even have to wait for this project to begin and the traffic congestion will already start with CDOT’s initial phase of the plan affecting the Sixth Street and Grand Avenue area. We now hear that CDOT has issued a directive to have Glenwood trim $3 million to 5 million from the budget. We have already heard how funds previously earmarked by council for local projects were put on the back burner, due to the required city contribution to the bridge project. We now hear that state’s Bridge Enterprise Fund is already $10-15 million over budget. Hard to believe. We now hear that the aesthetic treatments requested by our council for the design of the bridge are on the cut list already. This is what happens when you make a deal with the devil before you know what you bought. Council, we know you have a very difficult task and that your job is extremely challenging and many times thankless. And I applaud all of you for your time and efforts, whether I agree with them or not. However, we count on you to not be naïve or weak in the ongoing relationship and negotiations between our city and CDOT.
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Future council could decide to close airport, sell property