Printed letters, Feb. 6, 2011

The system for selecting places to spend Colorado Department of Transportation construction money is totally messed up. That is why I have been working with Rep. Glenn Vaad, R-Mead, and that’s how I happened to be at the House Transportation Committee meeting last week, as reported by Charles Ashby in the Feb. 3 edition of The Daily Sentinel.

I complained to Rep. Vaad after $10 million of stimulus money was allotted to the building of roundabouts at the Edwards interchange on Interstate 70, while safety hazards on many rural state highways in that area were ignored.

When I contacted the Grand Junction CDOT office, I was told that the Intermountain Transportation Planning Region had placed the highest priority on the I-70 interchange project, so CDOT had no choice but to fund it. The selection was based on a process, rather than on need.

A second example: Another project funded by stimulus money was a section of Colorado Highway 13 south of Meeker. When I pointed out that the greatest need for work was on the Rifle end of that highway, due to heavy traffic being generated by gas field activity, I learned that Garfield County had not set a high priority on its segment of Highway 13. As a result, the most badly needed work on that highway could not be funded.

The purpose of Rep.Vaad’s legislation was to return the control of construction selection back to the regional directors and the Denver staff of CDOT, with final approval by the Transportation Commission. That’s all!

No one would be cut out, as far as proposing their favorite project. This is how it worked during the many years I was the district engineer (now called regional director), and it worked very well.

The bill was postponed indefinitely. I’ll do what I can to bring it back to life.



Ken Salazar deserves credit for wild protection

Colorado’s public lands support a diverse economy that thrives on hunting, fishing and recreation. Here in Carbondale, the inventory of roadless areas makes this a mecca for sportsmen from across the states. Our roadless lands attract thoughtful folks here to live, people who are looking to raise their families where there is clean air, clean water and recreational opportunities on lands in their natural state.

Secretarial Order 3310 reiterates congressional mandates from 1950, 1964, 1969 and 1976 to direct the consideration of maintaining pristine qualities on our few remaining unroaded BLM lands. The amount of wilderness-quality BLM lands is shrinking at an alarming rate because of resource extraction. Pressure to develop the few remaining wild areas is huge and growing daily.

That is why I joined more than 60 other local elected officials across Colorado on a letter supporting Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s common-sense 3310 wild lands policy, which restores balanced management to our public lands. Now, BLM can again confer with Carbondale and other communities across the West, and where appropriate, nominate to Congress enhanced protections for existing federal lands.

Coloradans know that protections for our air, water, and land can be balanced with our need for domestic energy production. Protecting our public lands is good for our businesses, our families and our communities.

Thanks to Secretary Salazar, for his thoughtful and courageous Order 3310.



More acclaim is due for good academic work

Where are the balloons and scholarships for the academically gifted students attending Mesa State (or any other college)? When will our society realize this country’s future success is not in the hands of highly paid athletes but of students learning and becoming proficient in academics?

Mesa State should concentrate on equally supporting its math and science departments and Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, which has almost disappeared from the campus.

This does not mean that athletics should be eliminated. It means that sports should be secondary to the prime purpose of college (and high school): learning.


Grand Junction

Where were civility pleas when Bush was president?

I wonder where all the pleas for civil speech were when the Democrats were calling President George W. Bush a Nazi, a liar and worse.

We only seem to hear the call for civil discourse when people on the left don’t like hearing the truth about themselves.


Grand Junction


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