Westminster urges support for FasTracks rail option
(Mar 01, 2012)
Thursday, March 1, is the last day RTD is accepting comments on three alternatives for the Northwest Rail segment of the FasTracks system. Because one of the options includes eliminating rail service to the corridor (Option 3), the City of Westminster is urging its residents to contact RTD and make it clear that rail service needs to be part of any alternative that moves ahead in the planning stage. Both Options 1 and 2 include rail service.
Read about the options and provide comments on the RTD website.
In 2004 voters approved a regional, interconnected rail transit system for the future of the region and the future of Westminster. The Northwest Rail segment, which brings commuter rail service from Denver Union Station to Boulder and Longmont, is the last to be built as part of the FasTracks plan. Until recently, the cost of the segment was estimated at about $895 million. Following additional design work completed late last year, RTD raised that estimate to as high as $1.7 billion, depending on year of completion. As a result, RTD is now considering an option that would eliminate rail and instead add to the existing bus service along the U.S. 36 corridor.
RTD’s Board of Directors is planning to select an option during a March 8 meeting. That option would then be fleshed out, with an eye toward including it as part of a 2012 election to increase the current FasTracks sales tax by 0.4 percent.
Westminster City Council continues to be adamant that rail must be a part of any option. Rail is vital to the future economic development of the corridor, and the city has planned and invested over the past several years with rail in mind. The residents along this corridor have paid their fair share of the taxes to support the entire system and RTD should fulfill its obligation. Creative solutions to funding shortages have been found for other corridors, and solutions can be found for the Northwest Rail segment as well.