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Study: 85% of voters support Front Range rail service

State leaders are still working on a plan for potential rail service along the Front Range, but a new survey says almost all of the voters who live in the area support the idea.

The results of a survey by RBI Strategies & Research and Magellan Strategies were published Friday, and they show overwhelming support for Front Range rail. The surveys only polled about 600 likely voters who live along the Front Range.

According to their polling numbers, 85% of voters surveyed say they have “total support” of passenger rail service for Front Range communities. That’s a fitting number, because 85% of all of Colorado’s voters live along the Front Range.

The population along this 173-mile corridor is expected to grow by 35% in the next 25 years. Some of the biggest booms will be in El Paso County and counties east and north of Denver.

The survey also asked voters if they would support a tax increase to fund the rail system at an estimated cost of $5 billion. Despite the state’s reluctance to pass tax increases, 61% of respondents said they would support a sales tax increase for the project.

CDOT announced in May that it was looking into building the rail system. CDOT and the Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Commission 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 survey specifically didn’t ask respondents if they would “vote for” or “vote against” the proposal; the goal was to get opinions on support or opposition to the idea. Magellan and RBI also said the survey only mentioned “basic, simple concepts” related to passenger rail, and the “general costs for those services.” There’s a margin of error of about 4%.

KRDO Only 2019