Voters Frustrated Over Plans To Scrap Northbound FasTracks Rail Expansion

DENVER (CBS4)– Frustration is growing as RTD considers major changes to the FasTracks rail expansion. Since 2005, taxpayers have been paying for a rail line they may never get.

RTD originally planned a rail line from Union Station in Denver to Boulder and Longmont. Now the cost to build it has doubled.

The initial estimate was around $800 million now it’s $1.7 billion.

The Westminster Progressive Homeowners Association has started a petition trying to convince RTD not to abandon plans to build a commuter rail line from Longmont to downtown Denver. Gary Shea heads up the organization. He said he and his neighbors feel RTD owes it to them now.

fastracks map Voters Frustrated Over Plans To Scrap Northbound FasTracks Rail Expansion

(credit: CBS)

“They know the commitments the city has made, that the community has made,” said Shea.

RTD balked at their plan after meeting with the BNSF Railroad. The commuter line would lease the freight carrier’s tracks. BNSF more than doubled what they estimated it would initially cost to operate the line.

“If we wanted to operate their tracks on their corridor, we need to respect their desires of what they want to have happen,” said FasTracks/RTD spokeswoman Pauletta Tonlis.

On Monday, March 5, RTD staff will consider other options, including building an express bus line on Highway 36.

“The northwest will get good quality transit. The question is what is the best way to provide that,” said Tonlis.

Buses could be running along the stretch as early as 2015. Even that would require more construction and likely, more taxes.

FasTracks plans for the Denver metro area are ambitious. Light Rail construction to Golden is in its final phases while new lines to Denver International Airport and Thornton are under way. At the hub of all the construction is the Union Station redevelopment.

The idea of not having a rail line to the northwest has some people feeling left out.

“I think if the northwest Light Rail line was completed as promised, I think the citizens would be on board with the tax increase,” said Shea.

On Thursday, March 8, the RTD board will vote on what direction to go in. If they decide to stick with the commuter rail plan, expect to see a tax increase proposal on the ballot in November. RTD said with out the additional funds, the rail line won’t be completed until 2042.

  • Dennis Sanchez

    What a scam. I don’t believe RTD ever believed that the rail could have been completed for the original amount. They intentionally gave the unrealistic low numbers so that voters would vote yes on the project. And then after building it part way, and after taxpayers have invested millions, they now want more of our tax money or leave us with a partial useless system.

  • Brock Ali

    I live in Wrongmont, and I never wanted to see the rail system. Longmont is a skell magnet, and we certainly don’t need to make it any easier for them to get here. I want RTD to do the right thing and give everybody back their tax dollars.

  • the_punnisher

    It looks like RTD Light Rail was run like a PONZI SCHEME and the money has just run out.

    We have only losers left..

    Unless you want another PONZJ SCHEME….

  • Henkv

    For anyone who ever thought this was not just a boondoggle for some construction companies: I have a bridge in New York and some great land in Florida that you can buy from me. Cheap.

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