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Broomfield Withdraws From Jefferson Parkway Project

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) - The future of the Jefferson Parkway is in question after one-third of the parkway authority pulled out of the agreement. Tuesday night, the City and County of Broomfield Council voted unanimously to withdraw from the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority.

Broomfield has been analyzing what to do with its membership in the parkway for nearly a year. A newly elected board emphasized the toll road is against its priority of health and safety especially after a plutonium particle was found within the planned right of way last year. The proposed parkway skirts past the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapon facility.

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"It's a big win! Huge win," said Arvada Resident Mike Raabe. "We're hoping this is the beginning of the end."

Raabe is part of the grass-roots effort Stop The Jefferson Parkway, a group of neighbors in his Leyden Rock neighborhood, where the proposed parkway would split the neighborhood in half.

"This is a huge public safety concern by constructing through rocky flats where there is plutonium on the ground," said Raabe. "It's a concern that this is not a transportation solution, this project was pushed by Arvada as an economic development project."

Broomfield, Jefferson County and Arvada have been involved in the JPPHA for the past 12 years. It's future is now uncertain as Broomfield refused to pay more than $2.5 million to the parkway. Money is drying up as Jefferson County continues to face a massive budget deficit.

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Many Broomfield Councilmembers said after looking at the science they couldn't agree with the proposed alignment of the toll road.

Raabe says his own city council wouldn't listen to concerns the way that Broomfield has.

"That's disappointing for us. We spent a lot of time talking to the Arvada City Council last year, went to a vote where they could have defeated and turned down the funding, which is $2 million. We think Arvada could have used that money for lots of different uses. But they voted strongly in favor of the parkway," Raabe said.

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Broomfield council member Heidi Henkel, who also serves on the JPPHA said at Tuesday's council meeting that she has concerns about transparency. Even Broomfield staff weren't sure what would happen next as it begins to withdraw from the partnership.

The Jefferson Parkway says it is "publicly-owned, privately financed" project that has been planned for decades. Promises to complete the 470 loop around Denver seem to be crumbling.

"This toll way has always been a bad idea, and it doesn't complete the beltway, never will complete the beltway," Raabe said.

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