Colorado bill would reform toll road notification rules

| 3/7/2008

During the past three decades, hundreds of residents in Colorado have found out the hard way that their properties were in the path of the proposed “Super Slab” toll road.

Residents have complained that an outdated law has allowed private developer Ray Wells to condemn properties and acquire land through eminent domain on the proposed route of the Prairie Falcon Parkway Express from Pueblo to Fort Collins, CO.

Wells has spent 32 years trying to clear necessary hurdles to build the controversial 210-mile toll road.

Members of the state’s House and Senate are hoping to enact a law to clear the titles of hundreds of homeowners and force Wells to start over under proposed new notification laws.

A bill in the House of Representatives, HB1007, introduced by Rep. Marsha Looper, D-Calhan, won overwhelming approval from the House Transportation and Energy Committee on Thursday, March 6. Committee members voted 10-2 to move the bill to the floor of the House for vote.

Before becoming a state lawmaker, Looper helped form Colorado Citizens for Property Rights, a group dedicated to fighting the proposed Prairie Falcon Parkway Express, formerly known as the Front Range Toll Road and also by its nickname, the “Super Slab.”

Committee members met Tuesday, March 4, but put off voting on a similar House bill, HB1343, introduced by Rep. Debbie Stafford, D-Aurora.

Wells’ attorney told the committee that a retroactive change to the notification process would be unconstitutional. He said Wells has the right under current law to work with the Colorado Department of Transportation to develop the corridor.

Wells initially proposed the Front Range Toll Road in 1976.

– By David Tanner, staff writer