Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Interstate 70 Discussion Continues

The Rocky Mountain Rail Authority held a meeting late last week to discuss its final version of a report that details the cost of building and operating rail lines along the I-70 corridor, as well as a Front Range line, paralleling I-25.

The report includes schematic drawings of the system, including stops at Keystone and Frisco. The study focuses on proven technologies that could be ready for operation by 2020.

According to the draft version of the report, the east-west line from DIA to the Eagle County airport would cost about $15 billion. The north-south Fort Collins to Pueblo line would cost another $5 billion.

As always, the biggest question mark is finding the money, but the rail authority board makes the case that the rail lines would enhance Colorado's overall transportation network at a time of rising oil prices and growing congestion. About 80 percent of the funding would have to come from federal sources, with the rest generated from a combination of state, local and private funds. In particular, the rail authority is looking to the federal government for infrastructure grants, citing the importance of the I-70 corridor as an “economic engine” for Colorado.

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