High-speed rail service feasible along Front Range
A Rocky Mountain Rail Authority study has determined that high-speed rail service is feasible in Colorado's Interstate 70 and Interstate 25 corridors, but construction of a system will cost billions and likely take decades to build.
"High-speed rail can provide a faster, more reliable travel option within and between mountain communities and areas up and down the Front Range," said Harry Dale, RMRA chairman and Clear Creek County commissioner.
The study, funded by the Colorado Department of Transportation and RMRA's 50-plus local government and transit authority members, identified route options that include one that would run between Fort Collins and Denver with trains traveling up to 100 mph in the I-25 corridor.
Other routes deemed feasible by the study included a Downtown Denver-DIA connection, Denver to Colorado Springs, and Denver to Vail in the I-70 corridor. Cost of the entire system is estimated at $21.13 billion with economic benefits, including construction and system jobs, estimated at $33 billion.
The routes studied met Federal Railroad Administration criteria that would make rail projects eligible for federal funding assistance. Once built, the study predicted the system could carry nearly 35 million passengers a year. The study estimated that a trip from Fort Collins to Silverthorne would take about two hours and cost $48 in 2010 dollars.
Dale said the next step is for CDOT to develop a Colorado State Rail Plan as a prerequisite for federal high-speed rail funding eligibility under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act. Dale said the project would likely be built in phases as funding became available over a period of 20 years or more.
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