Southwest Chief, Front Range Passenger Rail Commission and CDOT announce RFP to study Front Range Passenger Rail

CONTRIBUTED BY CDOT

The Southwest Chief and Front Range Passenger Rail Commission (Passenger Rail Commission) and the Colorado Department of Transportation are requesting proposals to study the feasibility of a passenger rail system and other multimodal options linking Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins to Denver. The RFP will study how a passenger rail system for this 173-mile corridor, which contains 85 percent of Colorado’s population, could support the state’s future growth and economy and benefit all Coloradans with sustainable, reliable travel choices.

“The Commission is excited to explore how passenger rail can bring sustainable and real congestion relief along our Front Range,” said Southwest Chief and Front Range Passenger Rail Chair Jill Gaebler. “As our population grows, the I-25 corridor will continue to be a vital link to our economy, moving people and goods while improving connectivity and allowing Colorado to flourish.”

Through this study, the Passenger Rail Commission and CDOT will identify different multimodal options to expand transportation options for the front range, as population along the corridor continues to grow. The options explored through the study will consider a range of technology alternatives for expanding transportation options along the Front Range, providing sustainable capacity for the system, and integrating multimodal options with work to modernize I-25.

In order to accelerate progress towards selection of an alternative, the study will streamline multiple required review processes, including the rail passenger service development plan document mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.

“To meet the growing needs of our state, Colorado needs a robust, energy efficient, sustainable transportation system that incorporates different modes of travel and provides more choices for the movement of people and goods,” said CDOT Executive Director, Shoshana Lew. “The Passenger Rail Commission and CDOT look forward to expediting our review of options through a streamlined environmental review process that accelerates delivery of results that will improve safe and efficient travel up and down the Front Range, and keep people and our economy moving.”

The Front Range region is forecasted to grow from 4.9 million persons in 2020 to 6.6 million persons in 2045, a 35 percent increase in total population. The North Front Range/Upper Front Range Region, Larimer and Weld Counties together will grow 65 percent from 0.7 million to nearly 1.2 million. El Paso County (Colorado Springs) will grow 39 percent from 0.7 million to over 1.0 million and the Metro-Denver will grow 27 percent from 3.3 million to 4.2 million. Pueblo County will grow 27 percent from 0.17 million to 0.22 million.

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