Making Colorado’s Front Range Rail a Reality

Local leaders are scrambling to bring together the funding and political support to create new intercity rail service in the fast-growing region.

1 minute read

September 27, 2023, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

View from inside glass top floor of Amtrak passenger train with Rocky Mountains scenery outside.

Jacob / Adobe Stock

In a piece for Governing, Jared Brey outlines the potentially bright future of a new passenger rail line proposed between Pueblo and Fort Collins in Colorado.

The train could be a boon to the “budding megaregion” that is home to almost three quarters of the state’s population and has widespread support. According to Brey, “Regional leaders have lined up behind it. Gov. Jared Polis campaigned on it. Amtrak supports it. The state Legislature established a Front Range Passenger Rail District with significant independent powers, and a board of directors chaired by Souby. New funding is available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”

Meanwhile, “Congestion has gotten steadily worse as the region has grown. And the increase in car traffic has contributed to the region’s worsening air quality, in “severe” violation of federal standards, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.” Jacob Riger, the long range transportation planning manager for the Denver Regional Council of Governments, says the region needs “viable alternatives to driving.”

Making the new line a reality will involve a ballot initiative for a new sales tax, coordination with the freight companies that own existing tracks, and grant applications for federal funding.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023 in Governing

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