Front Range Passenger Rail proposal delivered to Legislature

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PUEBLO – A legislative proposal for the development of a Front Range Passenger Rail system, from Trinidad to Fort Collins, was submitted to the Colorado State Legislature by the Southwest Chief and Front Range Passenger Rail Commission on Friday, December 1.
Since August, the Commission has held seven comprehensive meetings and more than a dozen subcommittee meetings reviewing governance structures, funding mechanisms and discussing route alternatives.  In accordance with state statute, the Commission was to submit to the House and Senate Local Government committees and legislative leadership by December 1, 2017.
The legislative proposal included five phases for delivering a Front Range Passenger Rail system to the citizens of Colorado:

  • Phase I includes defining mobility needs; preferred alignment and routes; service operating characteristics, including time of service, speeds, station location and spacing.  Phase I will also include public and stakeholder engagement to develop a service plan as well as staff and staff support for the Commission. Phase I is planned to conclude in two and a half years and includes the immediate legislative request for the General Assembly.
  • Phase II includes the formation of a governing authority with a perspective implementation date of November 2020.
  • Phase III includes full environmental clearance.
  • Phase IV includes construction and build out.
  • Phase V includes ribbon cutting and grand opening to commence ridership

For the 2018 legislative session, the Commission will be asking for authorization to conduct Phase I, which has a price tag of $8.7 million for the first two-and-a-half years.
The State of Colorado spends roughly $1.4 billion in transportation annually.
Attached are the documents the Commission formally presented to Legislature today, signed by Sal Pace Chair of the Commission and Jacob Riger Vice Chair of the Commission. Riger is the Vice Chair of the Commission and Chair of the subcommittee tasked with drafting this legislative proposal. He also serves as the Manager of Long Range Transportation Planning of the Denver Regional Council of Governments. Sal Pace is a Pueblo County Commissioner.
Attached documents include a cover letter from Pace and Riger to the Committee Chairs, a summary of Front Range Passenger Rail major issues & strategic considerations, a summary of key steps towards implementing Front Range Passenger Rail, a map of proposed Front Range Passenger Rail corridor & connections, and a November 2, 2017 presentation to Transportation Legislation Review Committee.
“We are working towards bringing Colorado into the 21st Century so we can compete with any state in the country for jobs and economic development. Major employers are demanding that communities have mobility alternatives,” Pace said.
“With Colorado’s booming population and increasing congestion, the Commission is addressing its legislative mandate to advance Front Range Passenger Rail as a mobility solution to benefit Coloradans,” Riger said.
“I believe high speed passenger rail is the only sustainable solution for transportation connecting the most populated region of Colorado. Citizens need to know they can travel up and down the Front Range in a timely manner, and this plan will achieve that goal,” Gaebler said.