The Colorado House has passed a bill that would make it easier to build a proposed private toll road and new railroad tracks on the plains east of Interstate 25.
But the move today comes before hundreds are expected to crowd the Capitol tomorrow for its first hearing in the Senate.
Opponents fear the largely anonymous backers behind the highway they've nicknamed the "Super Slab" will destroy their rural way of life and abuse eminent domain powers to make a profit.
But Senator Suzanne Williams -- who supports the bill -- says the road is a way to help manage inevitable growth that will happen in the area with or without the road.
She says the unknown investors behind the road are offering a chance to have a mile of conservation land, not big developments, on either side of the highway.
Ray Wells is the founder of the Front Range Toll Road Company and filed a plan 20 years ago to build the highway within the 12-mile corridor. He has gathered investors for the project but, by contract, he won't identify them unless the bill passes.
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