COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Colorado's vision for a Front Range passenger rail system is one step closer to reality.
The Biden Administration announced a $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan for the nation on Wednesday, called the 'American Jobs Plan,' which designates $80 billion to Amtrak rail repairs, improvements and route expansions.
Following the announcement, Amtrak released its own plans to add more than 30 new routes within 15 years, in addition to repairs and much needed improvements. One proposed route from Pueblo to Cheyenne, Wyoming would create a corridor along the Front Range, with stops in Colorado Springs, Denver and Fort Collins.
"We want to be a part of solving some of these problems and better connect these communities to the rest of the network and the rest of the country," Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari said.
It's a plan the Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Commission has been working on since its inception in 2017.
"We've been working closely with Amtrak and with the Governor's office, but this is confirmation of Amtrak's commitment to the Front Range passenger rail corridor," Sal Pace said, Vice Chair of the Passenger Rail Commission.
If passed, the President's federal legislation could give Amtrak and the commission much-needed resources, but it's not the only funding source they'll require.
"Ultimately we will need to create some sort of rail district and the legislature is looking at that right now," Jill Gaebler said, Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments and Passenger Rail Commission board member.
With 85% of the state's population growth happening along the Front Range, the proposed rail system has long been viewed as an alternative to alleviate congestion, especially along the I-25 corridor.
"And we don't have more space to add more lanes along I-25. So, it's not a sustainable transportation route for the state of Colorado," Gaebler said.
Proponents also anticipate the rail could generate an economic boost for the cities along its route.
"Front Range passenger rail would allow the economic growth in Colorado and especially in communities like Colorado Springs and Pueblo," Pace said.
Before any funding can be distributed, the legislation must be approved by the U.S. Congress.