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Amtrak, Colorado Front Range Commission discuss future passenger rail plans

Amtrak Front Range Rail
Amtrak

COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. (KRDO) -- Amtrak and the Colorado Front Range Commission hosted their first roundtable discussion Monday, since announcing plans for a passenger rail along the Front Range, from Pueblo to Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn and President Stephen Gardner reinforced their commitment to partnering with Colorado on the project, which has been in the works since 2017.

RELATED: Biden infrastructure plan offers promising sign for Front Range passenger rail system

"There's no question if Congress can enact something like what the President has proposed, we'll have huge opportunities to accelerate investment and address what we think is a nationwide need," Gardner said.

Under the Biden Administration's $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan, $80 billion would be assigned to Amtrak rail repairs, improvements and more than 30 new route expansions.

"Pueblo is the biggest producer of rail in the U.S. and [is] building another rail mill right now as we speak," Front Range Commission Vice Chair Sal Pace said.

Pueblo and Colorado Springs both stand to reap the benefits of a Front Range route, connecting Southern Colorado to Cheyenne.

"Colorado Springs also has five military installations in and around it. In trying to support our partner, our military partners, and trying to create resiliency and reliability for them, rail becomes especially important," Jill Gaebler said, Front Range Commission and Colorado Springs council member.

According to Gaebler, 85 percent of the state's growth is occurring along the Front Range, prompting the need for an I-25 transportation alternative.

Commissioners also pointed to new legislative support in Colorado.

A bill introduced by Senate President Leroy Garcia (D- Pueblo) on Friday, would create Front Range rail districts throughout the state to provide additional funding.

"So that Colorado can create a governing authority to partner with Amtrak," Pace said.

These districts would allow Colorado voters to set tax rates to help pay for the rail project. However, service is still estimated to be at least 10 years away.  

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Jen Moynihan

Jen Moynihan is a weekend anchor and reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Jen here.

Comments

5 Comments

  1. A colossal waste of money. You’ll get a train line that costs $billions to construct and $hundreds of millions to operate each year. Don’t let the bureaucrats and construction mafia talk you into this folly.

  2. Then what is your solution? We cannot build and maintain enough highway miles to support the explosive growth in CO. The expansion of I25 in the “GAP” is a perfect example. Even with 3 lanes it’s already undersized. We need a transportation solution that quickly scales to demand.

  3. So biden wants a couple trillion to pay for a rail system but then KRDO reports “Colorado voters to set tax rates to help pay for the rail project”. So Colorado citizens are paying increased taxes to pay for biden’s trillions AND we pay additional tax in CO for the rail system. Isn’t that being taxed twice? The reason the GAP is already undersized is because some idiot in Denver felt building only one lane was enough. Look at Texas’ highway system. They build it right the first time!!! I-25 is an hourglass-shaped road (wide then narrow then wide again). Since we have the equipment already in place to build one lane we should build at least four more lanes each way. We need to plan for the future. Building only one lane is profoundly stupid.

    1. This is the new lie. Just like the Gap promising 3 lanes than Maybe a 4th toll lane. Sold it to the voters that way and as soon as they had the money. Nope just adding a 3rd toll lane.

      This will be sold to tax payers as, well the new infrastructure bill will cover most of it… so just approve a tax increase for the rest….. Then watch. The govt will only give $10 and the rest will be on the tax payers and half way through they will say they need more money and taxes to complete. “Well we just can’t stop half way”….. Thats what they did in California for the high speed rail. Don’t be fooled by this one people.

  4. The feasibility report gives a 40 year return on investment with the *** by that time new cars and trains will need to be procured and the maintenance of the rial way will then exceed the revenue of the service.
    So….. It will never be self sustaining and will Always rely upon tax dollar subsidies to operate. Just like the post office. The “Administrators” will be making bank to run a company in the red every year.

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