Your Opinion: Response about gravel roads

Dear Editor:

I would like to take the opportunity to respond to Mr. Scheperle’s comments to the editor, June 2.

Cole County has passed halfcent sales tax issues five times. I was directly involved with the expenditures of those funds from 1991 thru May of 2005. I was also a spokesperson for two of the campaigns that the gentleman refers to in his letter, the third and fourth ballot issues. I can find no place that the officials of Cole County promised to pave all of the roads in the county, and as a matter of fact, I believe in the very first campaign literature, the statement was made in writing that paving all of the gravel roads was not financially possible.

While making presentations to various groups and organizations for the two campaigns I was involved with, the question was raised numerous times if the goal was to pave every gravel road in the county. The answer given was that paving all of the roads would be nice, but probably not practical or economically feasible.

Studies from around the country show that it is more economical to maintain gravel roads than paved roads when the roads have an average daily traffic usage of between 150-200 vehicles per day depending on several factors. An Accident Data study by the federal government indicates that paving should be seriously considered when roads exceed 250 vehicles per day. Currently Cole County uses a threshold of 125 cars per day on a roadway, lowered from the original 250 cars per day.

I encourage everyone to go the polls and vote your conscience. While making your decision on how to vote, please consider the facts and how they have affected all of the citizens of Cole County.

Over the past 25 years, Cole County Public Works has overseen the paving of approximately 157 miles of roadway, replacing or rehabilitating where practical 126 major structures and resurfacing approximately 380 miles of roadway.

These numbers can be verified through the public works department and meet or exceed any of the promises that have been made.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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