Concerns Arise That Southern Colorado May Be Neglected in the Front Range Passenger Rail Project

Some southern Coloradans are concerned that plans to build a passenger rail line from Pueblo to Fort Collins will leave the bottom half of the state behind.

The concerns originate from a bill recently presented in the Colorado legislature to create funds for the project, or at least a portion of it.

The law proposes raising state rental car taxes by $2 to $3 per day, depending on the type of rental automobile. This money would then be used as a match to get federal grant funds for projects like the Front Range Passenger Rail.

Concerns Arise That Southern Colorado May Be Neglected in the Front Range Passenger Rail Project

State Senate President Steve Fenberg of Boulder is the bill’s primary sponsor. He said the goal is to gather funds that will be matched by federal infrastructure awards to significantly strengthen the state’s transportation resources.

He claims that previous legislation mandates that the northern section of the railway be completed first, before work on the southern portion of the state begins.

“We just have a narrow window to bring in these government money. We need to do everything we can as a state to ensure a healthy cooperation, and everyone is cooperating in the sandbox so that we can demonstrate to the federal government that we are a worthwhile investment,” said Fenberg.

However, some, such as Jill Gaebler, a member of the Front Range Passenger Rail Board, believe Southern Colorado is being overlooked in the plans.

Concerns Arise That Southern Colorado May Be Neglected in the Front Range Passenger Rail Project

“I would have liked us to be working together, linking arms, going to the ballot as one line, in advance of trying to find funds for one portion of the line that kind of separates the line and its vision,” Gaebler told the crowd.

Gaebler knows that the northern portion would be built first, but she feels a railway plan should include guidelines for the entire length of the route.

She said she wants a ballot question in November so voters can decide how to fund the railway, and she does not want Southern Colorado to be overlooked.

KRDO13 contacted the Governor’s Office for comments on the bill:

“The Governor advocates for train service from Fort Collins to Pueblo and Trinidad and is opposed to any plan that does not encompass the entire front range. The state law that established the Front Range Passenger Rail District required that the project begin with the unfinished NW Rail FasTrack segment, which was scheduled to be completed in 2017.

Governor Polis is committed to working with local, state, and federal partners to secure Colorado’s fair share of historic federal funding to make passenger rail a reality, and he commends President Fenberg and the sponsors for their efforts on legislation to that end.”: A spokesperson for Governor Jared Polis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *