Phil Castle, The Business Times
Jeffrey Hurd compares street maintenance to dental health: a little preventative care now can help in avoiding more costly treatment later.
That’s why the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors has endorsed a ballot measure that would use tax revenues earmarked to pay off the Riverside Parkway for street maintenance.
Hurd, chairman of the chamber board, said approval of Measure 2B in the upcoming municipal election could save the city money in maintaining streets now rather than paying for more costly repairs later. Moreover, good infrastructure encourages economic development, he said.
Hurd was among four men who spoke in favor of Measure 2B at a news conference conducted outside the chamber offices.
The referred measure is one of two on the ballot for the Grand Junction municipal election. Measure 2A asks voters to approve a quarter-percent increase in sales tax to fund construction of an events center in downtown Grand Junction along with renovations to the nearby convention center. The deadline to mail or turn in ballots is 7 p.m. April 4.
Measure 2B would allow the city to pay for street maintenance using tax revenues collected above the limits allowed by state constitutional limits and earmarked to pay back bonds sold to finance construction of the Riverside Parkway. City voters approved the so-called TABOR override in 2007 as a way to pay off the bonds
early and realize savings on interest.
By one estimate, redirecting those funds to street maintenance would save the city an estimated $22 million in what would be required if the work is deferred, Hurd said.
Duncan McArthur, a member of the Grand Junction City Council, said he personally favors efforts to catch up on street maintenance. “I was proud to support putting this on the ballot.”
Michael Burke said the Western Colorado Business Alliance supports Measure 2B because well-maintained infrastructure is needed to provide access to businesses. “It clearly is an important business issue.”
Steve Jozefcyzk, business development manager for the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, said the board of the economic development group has endorsed 2B.
Jozefcyzk termed infrastructure “critical to the economic vitality of the region.” By one assessment, though, the bulk of Grand Junction streets are in fair or poor condition. Measure 2B would earmark additional revenue for street maintenance without raising taxes, he said.
Tom Peterson, executive director of the Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association, called Measure 2B “a win for all involved.”
The measure would benefit the city and its citizens as well as the constructor contractors that would receive additional work if more revenue was available for street maintenance, Peterson said. “We’re ready to go to work.”