Opening of Denver's B Line Bittersweet for Commuters From Northwest Suburbs

The 6.2 mile, two-station electrified commuter rail line is opening as expected next Monday, July 25, but future service to the northwestern counties of Broomfield and Boulder will be delayed due to an unexpected funding shortfall.

July 18, 2016, 11:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

Festivities for the Regional Transit District's (RTD) new B Line are planned at the line's two initial stations, Union Station and Westminster Station, located in the northwest suburb of Westminster, a city of 106,000 (2010 census), located in Adams and Jefferson counties.

"The 11-minute, one-way ride will cost $2.60," reports John Aguilar for The Denver Post. However, residents in Broomfield and Boulder counties will have to wait for some time before they see service.

But for many living farther up the northwest corridor — in communities such as BroomfieldLouisville, Boulder and Longmont — the B-Line opening will feel less satisfying. Louisville Mayor Bob Muckle characterized his invitation to the ribbon-cutting at the new Westminster “sort of bittersweet.”

Graphical map of the Northwest Rail Line

Courtesy of Regional Transit District (RTD)

The delay results from a severe funding shortfall due to "tax revenue projections that outstripped collections and higher-than-anticipated construction costs...much of it falling disproportionately on the northwest corridor," adds Aguilar.

It may even take as long as 2042, depending on the cash flow situation at the RTD, before the full line is up and running.

An October 2013 post compares rail vs. bus rapid transit for the corridor. At that time, light rail, not commuter rail, was being considered.

Unlike the 23-mile, eight-station A Line from Union Station to Denver International Airport, with headways of 15 minutes, the initial B Line to Westminster will have half-hour peak and hourly off-peak headways

RTD will open two more rail lines this year: the G commuter rail line in the fall and R light rail line extension in winter.

Hat tip to Annie Dawid.

Sunday, July 17, 2016 in The Denver Post

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