Two efforts in the Colorado
General Assembly would either halt or hinder a proposed 210-mile private toll
road on the plains of the Front Range.
One bill would effectively kill
the project – dubbed the Super Slab – by stripping the power to condemn
property from private tolling companies.
The other would allow developer
Ray Wells to continue his toll road plans but under much stricter rules.
The Senate Judiciary Committee
unanimously approved the first bill.
At the same time, the full House
unanimously approved the second bill, which Wells told the Rocky Mountain
News would let him continue planning for a high-speed bypass running north
of Fort Collins to the south of Pueblo as an eastern alternative to Interstate
Wells, president of the Front
Range Toll Road Co, said the road would appeal to truckers who want to bypass
the congested corridor that links Front Range communities.
Gov. Bill Owens likely will veto
the first bill – SB230 – if it reaches his desk, his spokesman Dan Hopkins told
“Super Slab is not going to be
built this summer. Something like this could have ramifications on private
investment in infrastructure in Colorado,” Hopkins said.
If the second bill wins approval
and is signed by the governor, Wells could proceed with his plans under
stringent new requirements.
HB1342 would require private
tolling companies to obtain approval from the Colorado Department of
Transportation before moving forward with any plans. It also would narrow the
width of the proposed corridor – currently an unusually wide 12 miles – and
require approval from the commissioners in all seven counties where the road
passes, among other things, the newspaper reported.
The Senate Transportation
Committee essentially killed a House bill in March that would have allowed the
state’s tolling agency and the Front Range Toll Road Co. to decide how toll
rates are set. A large protest outside the Capitol preceded the panel vote on
The cost of the proposed 210-mile
route is estimated at $2 billion.