Proposed toll lanes turn some in El Paso County against I-25 widening

A stretch of Interstate 25 south of Castle Rock near Tomah Road on Dec. 28, 2016 in Castle Rock.

Some El Paso County residents are frustrated with the state’s plan to widen Interstate 25 between Monument and Castle Rock by adding toll lanes. They don’t want to pay twice to fix the stretch of highway known as “the gap.”

“There’s four levels of taxes that we’re already paying,” Colorado Springs resident Dan Yaciuk said during a project update Thursday night. He was referring to city, county, state and federal taxes. “I wouldn’t pay again. I would just sit in traffic and deal with it.”

Under the current proposal, a pair of Express Lanes — similar to those on U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder — would be added to the highway to widen it from two to three lanes in each direction. The revenue generated by the toll lanes would go toward maintenance on the stretch of road and future improvements to the gap corridor, said Carrie DeJiacomo, program engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The $350 million project would be paid for by $250 million in revenue that a new state law is expected to generate through the sale of state-owned buildings, $35 million in local taxpayer dollars and a $65 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation; however, officials won’t know until the spring if the project has received the federal award.

Local voters approved two ballot measures in November, allowing the county to contribute at least $6 million to the project and the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority to allocate $10 million in future tax revenues. The county is considering upping its contribution by $1.5 million in its 2018 budget, which will be finalized next week.

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