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RTD looking at phased approach to rail on northwest corridor

(Mar 06, 2012)

On March 5, Regional Transportation District recommend to the RTD Board of Directors to keep the Northwest Rail Line to Longmont in the FasTracks plan, but to add bus rapid transit service to address transit needs until the full build out of the rail.

After much analysis on the options, the RTD staff recommendation is a hybrid plan that includes phasing in commuter rail while also implementing a bus rapid transit system. Due to concerns over project cost increases, RTD had been analyzing whether to continue forward with the Northwest Rail Line or shift the remaining project funds to implement a bus rapid transit system.

Under this recommendation, RTD would build the Northwest Rail Line to Church Ranch Boulevard in Westminster in the 2020-2022 timeframe and provide up to 80 miles of bus rapid transit by 2020. The segment from south Westminster to Church Ranch Boulevard would add six miles to the rail line and would be funded from the new 0.4 percent sales tax (4 cents on a $10 purchase) if RTD has a successful sales tax election.

The first segment of the Northwest Rail Line from Denver Union Station to south Westminster (71st Avenue and Irving Street) is already funded and is being built as part of the Eagle P3 project, which will also build out the East Rail and Gold Lines. This first segment is 6.2 miles and scheduled for completion in 2016.

Between the two segments, RTD would build out 12 of the 41 miles of Northwest Rail by 2022, which is 30 percent of the rail line. Future segments of the rail line to Longmont would be phased in as funding becomes available.

The City of Westminster is supportive of this proposed hybrid plan as a step in the right direction toward full completion of the Northwest Rail Line.

The RTD Board will make its decision on the RTD staff recommendation at a meeting on Tuesday, March 20.

More information is on the FasTracks website.

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