When Josef Stalin ran the Soviet Union, he believed he could change history simply by removing his enemies from photographs and encyclopedias. It now appears some Colorado politicians believe they can do the same thing in l994.
In a Denver Post article at the end of May: "While Regional Transportation District officials looked on, Littleton Mayor Pro Tem Susan Thornton...insisted that Metro Area Connection (MAC) was never intended as a demonstration project. Press reports on that subject have been 'misinformation', she said."
For those not yet following this saga, we are writing about the latest "lite-rail" project to be foisted on Denver-area citizens.
As one of many who found themselves pulled into giving time and effort in l988 and l989 under jurisdiction of the RTD Board of Directors in planning a demonstration project for MAC, the statement by Susan Thornton would be funny if I didn't remember how Lev Trotsky became a non-person in Russia.
Anyway, my copies of the material are still intact, and I'll just present several items. The first is from the Feb. 9, l988 meeting attended by legislators, RTD board members, Denver Regional Council of Governments, Denver City Council and neighborhood representatives.
"Debra Kaufmann discussed status of the AGT Demonstration Project. The purpose of this project is to construct a one-to-two mile usable segment which will familiarize the public with rapid transit and facilitate refinement of construction cost estimates. The cost of the project is estimated to be $50-60 million.
"The alignment inititally proposed from the CBD to the Sports Complex has been discarded due to opposition by the Downtown Policy Group to an elevated system. Alternate alignment suggestions are being solicited. So far, interest has been expressed by three communities: Lakewood (Cold Spring Park-n-Ride to Westland Mall), Aurora (I-225) and Denver (Stapleton Airport)."
The second item is from the July l8,l989 Airport Corridor meeting after the Denver alternative was the one chosen. At the end of the meeting-notes prepared by RTD staff is an item called "Key issues". There were twelve, and Item No. 3 in importance was:
"To make this a worthwhile demonstration project in order to further rapid transit in other corridors."
In the June l2th Denver Post letters to the editors is the following from Kenneth Hotard, chairman of the RTD Board of Directors:
"According to former RTD Chairman Jack McCroskey, he gave, all by himself, over 500 presentations calling the first 5.3 mile `MAC' line a `demonstration project'....McCroskey's deceptive, and most importantly, individual political promises resulted in his overwhelming and stinging defeat in the most recent RTD board decisions."
After twenty years of watching RTD board members shoot themselves in the foot, it would not be a surprise to learn all those l988-89 meetings never occurred. Of course, this is all about money, and the desire by RTD to get about $l00 million in federal funds to a build an 8.7 mile, $l26 million, southwest corridor line.
At the same time, the Clinton Administration is considering cutting $800 million from the federal subsidies that any new systems and extensions would need to stay open in the U.S., according to GOVERNING magazine.
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan summed it up better than anything I could write, when he told Bob Woodward in the book, "The Agenda" :
"He felt that lots of people in politics behaved in all aspects as normal human beings but could nevertheless look someone straight in the face and lie...The lies were a technique to gain a certain advantage, Greenspan felt. `And to me that is morally evil' he said."
The meetings I attended, Mr. Hotard and Ms. Thornton, were arranged by the RTD board and run by RTD staff. McCroskey wans't making any individual political promises. RTD staff was telling dozens of community activists that MAC was a demonstration project.
If anyone is being "deceptive" it isn't McCroskey. Colorado is not the Soviet Union and hopefully, past events cannot be altered.
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