Light rail to nowhere? RTD estimates extension to Boulder, Longmont won't be built until 2042

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Posted at 4:55 PM, Feb 09, 2021

DENVER — DENVER — It’s a rail line many have waited on for years: RTD’s B line, or Northwest Rail, ends in Westminster and it’s unknown if that will change any time soon.

"RTD needs to take the next steps for our entire corridor because that was the promise that was made," Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver said.

Weaver said people have been getting taxed for more than 15 years and when it comes to the Northwest Rail, there’s been hardly any movement at all.

"We have seen some benefits so our bus rapid transit line from Denver to Boulder has been improved a little bit, but that certainly isn’t the train we were promised," Weaver said.

That train was supposed to continue to Boulder, and then Longmont, but RTD has said the Northwest Rail won’t be built until 2042 or later because the price tag is now about $1.5 billion.

"Nobody would like to finish these more than RTD, but it’s all about the money," said RTD spokesperson, Pauletta Tonilas.

RTD does have a FasTrack internal savings account with about $124 million but not all that money is dedicated to the Northwest Rail.

"There are three other FasTrack projects: the central corridor extension, the southwest extension and the remainder of the north metro line up 164th," Tonilas said.

About 75% of FasTrack projects are complete, but it’s the unfinished ones that prompted Gov. Jared Polis to lean in.

In a letter to RTD he says in part, “I write to remind you of RTD’s responsibility of fulfilling their obligations to the taxpayers of the district and urgently request you begin the planning necessary to complete the construction of the corridor by 2025.”

During a RTD study session Tuesday night, a discussion of how to move forward with the Northwest Rail will take place and if design study is a next step.

"We absolutely understand the frustrations of people who voted for FasTracks in 2004 and said, 'Hey I thought I was going to get a rail line, where is my rail line?' We get that and what we’re here to say is this is our reality now," Tonilas said.