RTD Recommits to Completing Train Service to Boulder, Longmont, Considering Interim Plan

April 18, 2019 GMT

The Regional Transportation District on Tuesday recommitted to completing the Northwest Corridor segment of the FasTracks rail service, and possibly implementing an interim plan sooner than full service can be achieved.

The special taxing district covering the Denver metropolitan area passed a resolution Tuesday night “expressing its continued commitment” to completing each of four unfinished corridors of the rail system.

Of the four — which also includes the North Metro, Central and Southwest corridors — the Northwest Rail segment, which would bring rail service from Denver to Boulder, Longmont and in between, at 35 miles has the most track to be completed to provide what district voters were promised in 2004. Voters approved a tax to fund FasTracks that year.

Despite the resolution’s passage, there have been no more funds committed to construction on the segment in the next decade, RTD spokesperson Tina Jaquez said.

“The action was brought forward by the RTD Board of Directors to reaffirm and formalize our commitment to completing the FasTracks program,” Jaquez said.

The resolution also said RTD would consider how to implement an “interim commuter startup service” known as the Peak Service Plan along the Northwest corridor “as a means of providing service to the corridor in the quickest manner possible.”

Jaquez said the resolution directed RTD staff to research cost-saving and creative funding mechanisms, and follow up with the board in two months.

The Peak Service Plan would provide rush hour service to the presently unfinished portion of the Northwest Corridor, from Westminster to Longmont, with three trains from Longmont to Denver in the morning and three trains from Denver to Longmont in the evening, the resolution said.

Gov. Jared Polis wrote a letter to the board recommending the board focus on the Northwest Rail corridor and implementing the Peak Service Plan, if possible.

“We urge RTD to thoroughly and speedily investigate the viability of this interim plan and to expedite the construction and operation of the plan if further analysis deems it practical and beneficial,” Polis stated in the letter. ”... It could reduce costs significantly compared to a full-service plan, and thus be implemented in a much shorter time frame.”

By 2020, about 70 percent of the entire FasTracks mileage, not specifically the Northwest Rail corridor, will be completed — the intended completion date was 2017.

Sam Lounsberry: 303-473-1322, slounsberry@prairiemountainmedia.com and twitter.com/samlounz .