Panel on I 70 PEIS
May 12 2005
Ed Rapp (civil engineer, former
CFO, Corps of Engineers)
Albert Melcher (Sierra Club Transportation expert)
Bob French (Summit County Commissioner)
Randy Wheelock (Clear Creek County Democrat Party Chair and activist)
Howard Hallman, (environmental engineer, former miner, Silverthorne Town Councilor, moderator of panel)
Summary of major points and discussion:
Feedback on Granby coalition mtg, May 5,6, 2005, 31 jurisdictions represented
RW: Clear Creek unified; on-going non-partisan consensus needed
rejected 6 lane, for “minimal action on steroids”
pushed for “teeth” in mitigation language
commitment to eventual transit: DIA to Eagle/GS/GJ
$4 B cap artificially imposed, too low—environmental protections will push the minimal action alternative to the $4 B cap
need world-wide industry RFI for technology innovations
BERT: NEPA knowledge is weak—no consideration for environmental justice or air quality
Denver experience with mass transit indicates people will use it
Wildlife/environmental protection not considered in PEIS, only concern for noise pollution—important to maintain wildlife bridge
Cost of 6-laning would far exceed estimates
Ed Rapp: political nature of I-70 PEIS
Concerns financial interests in petroleum: asphalt + gasoline
Need to organize locally to promote vision for transit
Based on experience with RTD in Denver, we should form a “Monorail Authority” in statute
Described several prior RFIs which disclosed advanced technology in other parts of world; (Japan, Spain)
Colorado School of Mines researched this subject and will forward comments to CDOT
Research also from Univ. of California in Pittsburgh, PA also suggests that technology is not the limiting factor
Statewide referendum on monorail 11/2001 lost 60 to 40 but gained a lot of publicity
CSM/DU academic analysis of PEIS reveals many hidden assumptions which are adverse to transit and favorable to asphalt (the Gov’s choice), for example, no mention of 23 mill sites that will be disrupted by widening through Idaho Springs area, resulting in potential heavy metals contamination of Clear Creek
Remember: the Granby meeting is not the last word
BF: important summary of coalition position thus far
Fix pinch points
Commit to mass transit
Attend to environmental and sociological (and economic) issues
$4 B cap is purely arbitrary and “laughable” (unrealistic)
strategy for future
likely that NWCOG will take lead
outcome of coalition will be to put pressure on Congress, Governor, legislature
need to confront highway lobby through Federal Highway Administration
issue may well proceed to court
it will be necessary to align federal and state responsibilities and authorities
must understand how to influence CDOT
must mobilize more public involvement, especially need to catch attention of front range—letters to editor and visits to editorial boards are ways to do this
need I-70 transportation authority over CDOT
need comments to CDOT web site by May 24, 2005 deadline
i. factual, not emotional
ii. “see no evidence that attention was paid to certain environmental concerns”—especially heavy metal contamination; air pollution
iii. talking points on Clear Creek Website and Sierra Club talking points will be forwarded by Bert
iv. emphasize that assumptions underlying predetermined outcomes are not permitted
v. need to emphasize economic impacts which are not analyzed in PEIS
vi. rising cost of gasoline; may not have asphalt available in 35 years
vii. approach this as a public health issue
important that we see this as a bi-partisan issue; get Republicans involved
OFS Survey (HH)
140 votes, mostly in favor of some form of mass transit
zero votes for widening
Vanessa W: Without good environment, we can’t have good community. Used to smell pine here but can’t any more. The tourists won’t come if the reasons for coming no longer exist.
Susan H: Environment is most important of all. There is too much pavement and too much exhaust. Mass transit would benefit business.
Corina A: Environment and transit are essential.
Doug M: Some common ground areas such as the environment might involve compromise.
Carla R: The topics look good. Competition among different entities is a major issue. We need to work together, not compete.
Don H: Sees a need for more balance to prevent overlapping facilities in the different communities of Summit County. However, we can never have enough parks.
Shirley W: We need hospital and assisted living facilities. Protection of the environment – particularly air and water – is key.
Rick W: Light pollution affects our quality of life and is a major issue. But we need leadership.
Tom D: Thinks it is hard for “Common Ground” to get too specific.
Ernie L: Recently moved here and curious to see how things evolve.
Carlos A: We are more than the common ground items listed. We have history, culture, soul. Integration, freedom, and respect are vital.
Tom P: Agree with Carlos.
Constance J: Likes “Economic Development” but might suggest “Economic Well-Being.” “Development” is quite a disputed term as to what this really means. Clean air and water essential.
Dave S: Environment is key.
Yvonne P: Agree with Carlos’s ideas. Also maybe uniting as a common voice so we don’t get steamrollered by larger state and federal entities could be another common ground platform.
Susan A: We need to think more globally. City versus County is a big problem.
Gail C: We need agreement in the group first before we go out to the wider community.
Sandy B: We need to realize economies of scale in government and demand value for our taxpayer dollars. There is so much duplication of services such as with the fire and police. We also need a unified voice for instances where we must go outside the community such as to speak up to Denver Water.
Don C: We need to be open to many people’s perspectives.
Bill W: The “Reasonable Government” mention is interesting. The purpose of government is supposed to be to work towards the health, safety, and well-being of the citizens. Also important is to identify and preserve the “character” that makes Summit County unique. This needs to be defined.
Bill W also brought everyone up-to-date on his involvement with the Coalition of Counties that is currently debating the I-70 issue and trying to find its own common ground for 30 communities.
Bill P: I-70 issue will have long-range impact. We need to become more knowledgeable about the issue. We need to bring officials from Broomfield to talk about how they transitioned to a single entity and what directions we might take.
Catherine G: Diversity is not being addressed in the schools. Knows two families leaving for this reason with children of color or learning disability. Also expressed concern that we will lose the older population if we don’t have any assisted living facility. As far as recreational facilities, noted that there is only one indoor facility – in Breckenridge – and could not get there one day because of traffic.
Beverly B: Agrees we must define our character, develop our vision, and narrow our goals.
Carlos A added that we must have an action plan and a way to measure our progress against it.
Don P: We must be careful that “Common Ground” does not become “Lowest Common Denominator.” Perhaps it should instead be “Higher Common Ground.” Also, “Reasonable Government” is important, but so is “Responsive Government.”
Howard then turned the direction of conversation to our “Vision.” What might this be?
1) A place where I can be proud to live?
2) It was mentioned that “Colorado’s Playground” is the moniker that appears after you exit the Eisenhower Tunnel. Constance mentioned that this also appears on the Summit Chamber branding, but there is a move to change this. Many people don’t like it.
3) Growth/population is likely to double in next 20 years… what would we like to be?
4) Will we become a bedroom community to Denver?
5) How will the growing number of immigrants integrate and assimilate?
Howard brought up ideas for Current Projects and how it is important to stratify them since some like I-70 are immediate and others may be more long-range:
1) Transportation / I-70 Expansion
2) Beetle Kill / Deforestation
Doug M moved to make Transportation the top project and asked for a show of hands on whether everyone could agree that mass transit should be part of the solution we propose. Those in favor were the majority.
Regarding Transportation, actions and questions include:
1) Get a speaker for our next meeting.
2) Target May 24th date (last point to give public feedback).
3) Concisely present the various alternatives on the futuresummit web site.
4) Create a way for people to vote or give feedback via surveys on the web site.
5) Put links on the web site to CDOT and the Coalition.
6) Explore options such as buses and HOV lanes.
7) Come up with a common vision on which we can all agree such as use of mass transit.
8) What will we do with all the new traffic; where will they park?
9) Howard to contact Bill Linfield.