The Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) is a collaborative effort among five regional governments to improve and maintain roads and support public transit. The members of PPRTA are the cities of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, El Paso County, and the towns of Green Mountain Falls and Ramah.
The PPRTA was established by voter-approved ballot in November 2004, which authorized a one-percent sales tax to support PPRTA goals. The funds are divided between capital projects (55%), maintenance projects (35%), and transit (10%).
In November 2012, nearly 80% of the voters in the region approved an extension of the capital portion of the RTA from 2015 through 2024. The maintenance and transit portions of the RTA are not subject to sunset provisions, so work will continue on these important projects.
In November 2017, voters approved adding one project to the 2012 voter-approved capital projects list which runs from 2015-2024. This was the widening of the 2-mile El Paso County section of the widening of the 18-mile stretch of I-25 (known as the Gap) from the Highway 105 overpass north to the south end of the City of Castle Rock. The voters approved using the 55% capital portion of any revenue received in excess of the budget for the years 2018 and 2019 to financially assist the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) with this project, up to a maximum of $10 million from the PPRTA.
The area’s most significant transportation concern is maintaining the aging infrastructure – roads, bridges, and drainage systems – in safe, reliable condition for public use. A major issue is maintaining roads and bridges that are already subject to overuse because of increasing population growth.
Federal and state funds are generally restricted to projects on federal and state highways and therefore cannot be used for these regional projects. Federal transit funds can only be used for capital expenses such as the purchase of buses.
PPRTA has a comprehensive Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with each of the five member governments that outlines the roles of the entity. The IGAs include details on:
- the budget process,
- how to handle claims and other liability issues,
- contracting elements, roles, and limitations,
- ownership of projects and other assets, and
- financial and construction reporting requirements.
The day-to-day work of PPRTA is performed by one full-time staff member and portions of time from several other staff members of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments(PPACG), under an administrative services agreement between PPACG and PPRTA.
The five member governments submit their payment requests to PPRTA staff members, who review the requests for budgetary and contractual compliance and process them for payment. Other functions of the staff are the optimization of sales/use tax collections, providing staff support to the Board and the Citizen Advisory Committee, financial reporting, preparation of the Annual Report to the Citizens, maintenance of the website, and field verification reviews of the capital, maintenance, and transit improvements.