Skip to content

Rocky Mountain High… speed train

February 26, 2007

How would you like to take a high speed train up to Colorado Springs, Denver, or Boulder? Heard of the Front Range Commuter Rail project? A group called the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority is trying to raise funds to support a study on the prospect of running 1,000 miles of track from Casper, Wyoming to Albuquerque. The Federal Railroad Administration requires a Feasibility Study before designating a ‘high speed rail corridor.’ A high speed rail corridor requires trains to average 90 mph or faster over 75% of its routes.

RMRA estimates the Feasibility study will cost approximately $4.4 million. Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico would be asked to pick up 50% of the costs, or about $2.2 million. New Mexico’s dues would run about $550k, or $225k over two years.

It sounds like the program has sufficient steam in Colorado, where the Colorado Department of Transportation has pledged to pick up Colorado’s tab of $1.246 million if local government’s chip in 20% of that figure. The RMRA website purport $140k in pledges from local (CO) governments thus far—they just need to double that number.

Wyoming is suppose to contribute almost $400k to the project, but the Capser Star-Tribune reports Wyoming’s House is expected to omitted $250k of funding from this year’s budget. Casper has pledged $50k in funding, but it is contingent on both Cheyenne pledging $50k and the state’s contribution.

And New Mexico? Doesn’t appear we’re doing much of anything. RMRA’s site includes a map of the Rail Runner, and has kept track of the State’s rail purchases between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, but doesn’t make any mention of NM budget proposals.

I haven’t heard local media or government make any mention of the Front Range Commuter Rail system. It is early, but numbers suggest the Rail Runner is a success and it won’t hit Santa Fe until 2008. On the other hand, Mayor Martin Chavez saw Albuquerqueans do everything but stage an outright coup when word got out he wanted to build a light rail street car system. With these mixed signals who knows where we stand on high speed rail service throughout the Rockies.

Colorado is putting their money where their mouth is, Wyoming is at least talking about it, and New Mexico…?

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: