Tag Archive for FasTracks

Moving in the right direction

The City of Longmont is moving forward in developing the master plan for the 1st & Main Station to include a future Regional Transportation District (RTD) commuter rail station at the site of the old flour mill near 1st Avenue and Main Street.

The site initially will only serve as a centralized bus hub. Eventually, it will serve RTD rail and bus customers as the terminus for the FasTracks Northwest Corridor commuter rail line between Longmont and Denver.

Using a $17 million initial payment by RTD, the City is moving ahead with the master plan to spur economic development even before the FasTracks trains start rolling.

To receive E-newsletters on the progress of the study and information on upcoming public meetings, email firstandmain@ci.longmont.co.us.

The timing is not right for RTD tax increase

The RTD Board of Directors has decided not to pursue a FasTracks sales tax increase in 2011. At a Special Board Meeting on April 26, the RTD Board decided that the timing was not right to put the matter before the public this year.

“We remain committed to continuing to work with our regional partners to complete FasTracks sooner rather than later,” said RTD Board Chair Lee Kemp.

The current FasTracks Financial Plan assumes a 2012 sales tax increase of .4 percent to complete FasTracks by 2020. A separate, formal vote in the future will be required for a sales tax election in 2012. Without a tax increase in the near future, RTD estimates that completion of the final FasTracks program elements would not occur until 2042.

The FasTracks investment initiative is projected to create thousands of construction-related jobs during the height of construction, and will pump billions of dollars into the regional economy over the next 20 years.

Decoding Mayor Baum

He's sending signals and they're easy to decode

Have you looked in your utility bill? Did you read Cityline? It would appear that Mayor Baum believes the Republican takeover of the Colorado and the U.S. House of Representatives has given him some sort of conservative “mandate” – or, at least, an excuse to justify radical changes in Longmont’s policies. Watch your step, Mr. Mayor, watch your step.

We know that the national Republicans have a policy to “starve the beast.” That’s the radical conservative Club for Growth code meaning to bankrupt the treasury so that all social programs can either be eliminated or privatized. It’s been the driving policy for at least 30 years. That’s what thy mean when they talk about “smaller government.” Since Longmont must balance its budget by law, our elected officials don’t have the same tools at their disposal. But they can radically change priorities.

Baum speaks of “hard infrastructure choices.” We know that the issue of an additional tax is planned to finish FasTracks. What we don’t know is whether it will be on the 2011 or 2012 ballot and what fraction of a percent it will be. But Longmont officials only have input and will not unilaterally decide the issue. We know that a Master Plan is in the offing for the former Flour Mill area that will eventually be the station for the Longmont Northwest Corridor connection, and a “bus station” in the interim.

But what other “hard infrastructure choices” is he thinking about? Dollars to donuts he has realtors and developers whispering in his ear requesting drastic changes to Longmont’s affordable housing program. As one who rarely misses a city council meeting, I’ve seen the signs – particularly from the mayor and Councilmember Katie Witt. The three new members have been taking a page out of the Gabe Santos/Tom DeLay playbook. How does that work, you say? It means you find a reason for your decision/vote that “everybody” can buy into and that conceals your true intent. Santos is a master at this. Gives a whole new perspective on “transparency,” doesn’t it?

Longmont government exists to benefit the people, the commonweal as it were. I’ll grant you that realtors and developers are part of the community, but they are a limited and small part. Give them a seat at the table, but not the entire table.

And it looks like the mayor is gearing up for some fighting. Out of the blue he cautions about “disagreeing without being disagreeable.” That’s lingo that Longmont’s ideologically conservative majority is employing to hamstring dissent – whether from other council members or from the community. Over the last year, the only elected officials “making a scene” publicly have been The Baum Squad, all the while chastising others to play nice.

So, Mayor Baum, if you want activity to be “agreeable,” be sure you don’t “overreach” and presume that you are entitled to follow in the God-awful footsteps of what the Republicans are planning in Washington, D.C. It won’t fly. And if you try to make it fly, it will crash and burn.