By Pam Zubeck, Colorado Springs Independent 

As the population on the Front Range grows, it’s time to find a way to move people without making highways even wider.

Enter the Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Commission. The commission has teamed with the Colorado Department of Transportation to request proposals to study the feasibility of a passenger rail line, and other multimodal options, to link Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins to Denver.

The 173-mile corridor contains 85 percent of the state’s population, so the study would look at how the railroad could support future growth and provide reliable transportation, the commission said in a release.

“The Commission is excited to explore how passenger rail can bring sustainable and real congestion relief along our Front Range,” Colorado Springs City Councilor Jill Gaebler, Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Chair, said in the release. “As our population grows, the I-25 corridor will continue to be a vital link to our economy, moving people and goods while improving connectivity and allowing Colorado to flourish.”

The study would:
• Identify different multimodal options to expand transportation options.
• Consider a range of technology alternatives for expanding transportation options.
• Streamline multiple required review processes, including the rail passenger service development plan document mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration and environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act process.

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“To meet the growing needs of our state, Colorado needs a robust, energy efficient, sustainable transportation system that incorporates different modes of travel and provides more choices for the movement of people and goods,” CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew said in the release.

The commission noted the Front Range’s population is forecast to grow from 4.9 million people in 2020 to 6.6 million in 2045.

El Paso County will see growth of 39 percent from 0.7 million to over 1 million, and Pueblo County will grow 27 percent from 0.17 million to 0.22 million.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting. They did this a few years back. Do we really need to spend more money yet again?
    1. Study One was designed to look at a superhighway on the East side of the Front Range from Pueblo to Fort Collins.
    2. Study Two was to look at Musk’s Tube to run from Cheyenne Wyoming to Pueblo (paid by the taxpayers)
    3. Study Three was to look at putting a third lane in place between Castle Rock and Springs (now in effect).
    4. Study Four was to look at putting a Light rail from Springs to Denver; however; Castle Rock blocked it.

  2. In 2014, CDOT completed its Inter-regional Connectivity Study and its AGS (Advanced Guideway Study). The latter identified maglev transport technology as not only technically feasible through the I-70 Corridor, but that it was also financially feasible and less costly than building rail through that difficult corridor. It was also concluded that high-speed maglev would also be less costly to build along the I-25 corridor, be much faster and reliable in all weather conditions, would take less time to construct, have lower operating costs, have a longer life cycle and require far less maintenance over its projected 100-year life cycle. And, this was for a dual guideway system that ran down the I-25 Corridor. So, why is Colorado wasting more money on yet another “study.” Is this another substitute for action? China just announced its development of a 600 k/hr maglev (372mph) last week. Why is CDOT looking to saddle the state with slow rail that requires intensive maintenance and won’t work in heavy snow storms? As a participant in several of the previous “studies,” I am bewildered at this waste of time and money. Let’s get real about embracing the future of transport for present and future generations and use this great electric powered automated technology to unite the state!!

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