The top Democrat in Colorado’s House of Representatives says she won’t be supporting a plan to bring a passenger rail service to the Front Range.
House Speaker K.C. Becker, D-Boulder, said she's “absolutely not supportive” of legislation that would establish a passenger rail system that supporters hope would connect the southern part of the Front Range to the northern part of the state, The Colorado Sun reported on Monday.
“W/o knowing more about anticipated ridership, technology, alignment, location, cost, & technical feasibility, it is premature to create a new transportation district for a new train. What about finishing Fastracks & I-70 to the mtns?” Becker tweeted on Monday.
In May, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Commission said it began accepting proposals for a passenger rail system.
The commission takes the position that a passenger rail system spanning the Front Range would help relieve traffic in the I-25 corridor, which connects Denver and Colorado Springs.
A survey by Magellan Strategies and RBI Strategies released in October found that 85 percent of individuals polled support “the future use of passenger rail service” on the Front Range, while 10 percent opposed the service.
The same survey found that 61 percent of respondents would support a sales tax increase for a passenger rail project while 27 percent opposed an increase and 11 percent were undecided.
A Front Range passenger rail project has been projected to cost $5 billion.
Colorado voters would have to approve any tax increase to fund a rail project because of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). Voters have as recently as November rejected proposals that would increase funding for transportation across the state.
Becker “said there are existing needs in the state’s transportation system that require funding right now,” the Sun also reported.