It's back, just don't call it Super Slab

| Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The $2.5 billion private toll road proposal once known as the Super Slab through eastern Colorado is back on the table with a new name and a new vision by developer Ray Wells.

Wells is on a campaign to inform residents along the proposed 212-mile corridor from Fort Collins to Pueblo that the project is very much alive despite legislation that set the project back and nearly killed it. It now has a new name – Prairie Falcon Parkway Express.

The study corridor for the toll road used to be 12 miles wide. Wells has narrowed that focus to three miles. The eventual toll road, railroad bypass and utility corridor, if approved, would span 1,200 feet wide.

Wells launched a Web site, prairiefalconparkway.com, and a toll-free call center, 1-800-977-8393.

He was not the only one to take to the Web with a campaign.

Opponents to the project, the Toll Road Action Committee, have come up with their own Web site, nosuperslab.org. Committee spokesman Rick Brown, an attorney from Elbert County, said the trimming of the proposed study corridor does not make the project any more viable than it was years ago.

“We still view it as a project that is going to be based on eminent domain views – Taking private property for private gain,” Brown told “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio.

Brown said the private developer using eminent domain for the private toll road is not appropriate.

“We don’t believe the public interest is being served by this project,” Brown said. “We don’t view the social, economic and environmental impact with this project as commensurate with any kind of public benefit that would be gained from it.”

Brown said another proposal, funded by tax dollars and without tolls, is being proposed not far from Wells’ proposal.

That project is called the Ports to Plains Highway, viewed as Colorado’s link in the big picture of a NAFTA corridor from the Texas border with Mexico through to the Canadian border.

“From a trucker standpoint, when you look at the margin some of these folks work on, it doesn’t make any sense to pay a toll when there’s a free alternative,” Brown said. “It’s crazy.”

 – Land Line staff

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