The official veto letters have not yet been issued, but the word is out that Governor Owens will kill the two bills that would roll back the 19-century laws that give private companies eminent domain powers for construction of toll roads. This means the private Front Range Toll Road plan is alive and kicking, and homeowners populating the eastern exurbs of Denver and Colorado Springs have reason to fear that a high speed highway will tear through their area. The Front Range Toll Warriors say their plan is to get a veto-proof majority to pass those bills in next year's legislature, and of course that has to be the short term strategy.
But is that really going to work? Would-be toll road builder Ray Wells is said to have had a twenty-year relationship with the governor, and I wouldn't be surprised if he has lots of friends in the legislature as well. What if there is no veto proof majority next year?
The answer is obvious -- Toll Warriors will need to elect a Democratic governor who will sign those bills. (You don't think Marc Holtzman is a potential toll warrior, do you? Where is he getting all of those campaign donations?) But here is the hard part: We are talking about eastern El Paso County, Elbert County, and the regions far to the east of even Aurora. Places where "Democrat" is a swear word. Can the prospect of a Front Range Toll Road motivate the residents of the proposed corridor to cast votes for a Democrat? If so, then this issue could put the governor's mansion back into Democratic hands next year.
If not, then the people of the FRTR corridor best learn to like the smell of diesel exhaust.