Mounting public frustration over traffic congestion, as well as limited state transportation funding drove the Board of Douglas County Commissioners to the November 2019 ballot for an additional transportation funding solution.
At their Sept. 3 Special Business Meeting the Board unanimously adopted a resolution that will ask Douglas County voters to annually redirect approximately $12 million of existing revenue from the Justice Center Fund to countywide transportation improvements, without compromising public safety.
Currently, the County’s existing 0.40 Sales and Use Tax dedicated for transportation generates $18 million a year (after a 75% share back with Douglas County’s municipalities). The additional 0.18 from the ballot initiative will generate an additional $12 million a year, totaling approximately $30 million annually in transportation-dedicated sales tax revenue to tackle the County’s growing transportation needs.
If Douglas County voters do not approve the proposed ballot initiative, the 0.05 of the 0.18, which generates approximately $3 million, will remain in the Justice Center Sales and Use tax; and the 0.13 in the existing Justice Center Sales and Use tax will expire December 31, 2020, resulting in a tax decrease of approximately $9 million annually.
“What our Board approved will accelerate our ability to invest in our citizens’ top spending priority without a tax increase and without compromising public safety,” said County Commissioner and Board Chair Roger Partridge. “This ballot question will redirect existing sales tax dollars to countywide, growth-management-related transportation projects, consistent with citizen feedback we received on our 2017 and 2019 countywide surveys,” Partridge said.
“The Board’s 2019 survey pursued voter opinion on redirecting existing sales tax dollars to growth-related projects like roads and infrastructure – and 87% of survey respondents supported this concept,” said County Commissioner Lora Thomas. “Our willingness to increase our investments for transportation improvements countywide has been and will continue to be a priority issue for me in service to the citizens and taxpayers of Douglas County,” Thomas said.
“Douglas County is recognized for our ability to leverage multiple transportation funding sources from federal, state and local governments, and private sector partners,” said County Commissioner Abe Laydon. “The additional revenue from this ballot measure, that we hope voters will support, will further our partnering opportunities on regionally significant roads in Douglas County – including municipal and state roads,” Laydon said.
Examples of major transportation projects completed and under construction using this partnering philosophy include: Ridgegate Parkway widening; C-470 widening and reconstruction; Chambers Road widening; County Line Road/I-25 road improvements; US85 southbound flyover to eastbound C-470; Castle Rock Parkway from US85 to I-25 and numerous road widening projects along the US85 corridor from Castle Rock to C-470.