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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Prairie Falcon Parkway Express

For starter don’t mind me, I was confused on posting…ha ha I didn’t mean to start a new blog…..well back to my post…
For the past year the Super Slab has been all over local and national news covered in many newspapers including New York Times, and the Washington Post. In an article written by Kevin Flynn in the Rocky Mountain News on September 29, 2006, the Super Slab project has been renamed the Prairie Falcon Parkway Express. This is a new 210-mile multi-transportation and utility project connecting seven Colorado eastern plains counties, including Adams, Arapahoe, Elbert, El Paso, Pueblo, Larimer, and Weld. The project includes a four-lane, median-divided toll road, rail, utilities, and associated service areas and right-of-way. Ray Wells, developer of the proposed $2.5 billion super highway, railroad bypass and utility corridor, dropped about 4,000 certified letters in the mail Monday morning August 21, 2006 to property owners within the 3-mile-wide boundaries of the project, which he has been nurturing for more than 20 years.
This is a hot topic for 2006, because everyone has stepped up working on the toll-road. So why is the Prairie Falcon Parkway Express necessary? There are approximately 4.7 million living in Colorado. Over three and a half million people live on Colorado’s Front Range and this population is expected to continue to grow. However, there is currently only one major north-south highway, Interstate 25, and only one major north-south railroad line through this growing region. To meet the increasing demands for passenger and local commuter travel, commercial transport, and rail activity, another corridor is needed now and for the future. The Prairie Falcon Parkway Express will be designed to meet those future demands.
With any project there are people for and against the proposal. With this specific project which is going to effect people that live on the eastern plains, well the people that are against the expressway. There are many meetings going on to inform people about the highway, especially the people who are in the 3 mile boundaries of the project. So how can this tie into our class? Well I think it is a great example of the benefit-cost analysis. Now that we know the goal from the developer’s point of view that is a benefit. “It is a privately funded project, and its going to be a toll-road, there is no question if it will pay for itself,” explains Ray Wells. On the flip side, it is a cost to all the residents that will be affected by this expressway (their land taken away). So the ultimate goal is to figure out if the benefits out-weigh the costs or vise versa. Having lived out in the country my whole life, I know how valuable land is to property owners, and I can’t even imagine how this is going to affect farmers, especially on the eastern plains within the 3-mile corridor. Twenty years ago when this project was purposed there wasn’t half as many people living out east. Now there are many more people, so we will have to wait to see how this turns out for the residents on the eastern plains of Colorado.

The project does involve private business, but it is also a project that has been allowed to use government's power of eminent domain. So, the usual idea of private business being economically efficient, unless there are externalities, is not necessarily relevant. After all, given the power of eminent domain, the private business activity in this case is probably going to find it is possible to acquire some land below the cost that would have to be paid without the use of government's coercive power of eminent domain.
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