Pueblo County pledges $12,500 towards saving the Southwest Chief

PUEBLO – A train that served 367,267 passengers in 2016 and is in immediate need of more than $50 million in rail repairs may be getting some much needed financial help in 2018.
 
On Monday, October 23, 2017, the Pueblo Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution pledging $12,500 in matching support toward the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) IX grant application. Twenty-three communities in three states have passed similar resolutions or submitted letters of support also pledging matching funds totaling nearly $9.2 million. Colfax County New Mexico, the lead applicant for the $25 million TIGER IX grant has already submitted the application.
 
Amtrak’s Southwest Chief currently runs daily between Chicago and Los Angeles, traveling across the Mighty Mississippi, eight states and making stops near the south rim of the Grand Canyon, Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as La Junta, Trinidad and Lamar, Colorado.
 
This is the fourth time a group of communities have rallied matching support funds to apply for a TIGER grant. If successful, the TIGER IX grant would wrap up necessary repairs in Colorado to save the Southwest Chief.
 
Simultaneously, the Front Range Rail Commission is working on getting a through car that would travel between the Pueblo Union Depot and the City of La Junta, offering a daily connection form Pueblo to the Southwest Chief.
 
Vital transportation service and hundreds of jobs in have been preserved thanks to $21.7 million rallied by communities in matching support and $27.68 million in TIGER grants. Necessary improvements to 46.9 miles of track have been upgraded to Class IV condition for Amtrak speeds up to 79 miles per hour. The upgrades have been beneficial for both passenger and freight rail, along with users of the improved railroad crossings.
 
Amtrak’s Southwest Chief provides a transportation link to the residents of southeastern Colorado that is of growing importance and will likely become critical as rising energy prices curtail the attractiveness of driving and flying.
 
 
CONTACT: For more information, please contact Paris Elliott, Pueblo County Community Information Manager at elliottp@pueblocounty.us or 719-252-8550.