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RTD-Front Range Passenger Rail partnership could get train service from Denver to Boulder back on track

Voters approved the rail project from Denver to Boulder back in 2004 and have been paying for it ever since.
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Posted at 9:40 AM, Feb 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-27 08:26:58-05

DENVER — Will there ever be a train service connecting Denver to Boulder?

Voters said yes to the project all the way back in 2004, when they approved the funding for the FasTracks program.

Now, a new potential partnership could help with federal funding to get the project back on track.

It's something Gable Patterson would love to see become a reality for the Front Range. His love for locomotives started at a young age.

“Standing underneath these massive train wheels, where I was maybe half the height of the wheel and just thinking to myself like, that’s a machine,” laughed Patterson.

Now living in the Denver metro, he’s seen their benefit.

“More than just the childlike passion, I’ve really seen trains as the most efficient way to get people around,” said Patterson.

This is why Patterson sees so much potential for the future of train travel, especially when it comes to the long-delayed train linking Denver to Boulder and Longmont.

New partnership could get train service from Denver to Boulder back on track

“I just feel for any older resident in Boulder that voted for this and is like, you know, thinking about whether they’ll get on that train or not,” said Patterson.

The possibility of a new partnership between the Polis administration, RTD, and Front Range Passenger Rail District could open the door for federal funds with a train system connecting Denver, Boulder, Longmont and Fort Collins.

“By partnering with Front Range passenger rail, we’re going to be able to bring that service online in perhaps as soon as 10 years, whereas if RTD had to fund it alone, it's decades away,” said Boulder County Commissioner Claire Levy, who’s on the board with Front Range Passenger Rail District.

The lines would run on existing tracks between Denver’s Union Station to Boulder and Longmont, completing the voter-approved Northwest Rail Line.

Levy said that distinction alone will open up access to billions of dollars of federal funding not available for commuter rail.

Levy explained commuter rail as your typical RTD stops. While intercity trains, have more distance between stops, which allows federal funding to be available.

Governor Jared Polis' Senior Strategic Advisor Lisa Kaufmann released a statement about the partnership which said in part, “I am hopeful this white paper represents a new era of collaboration and creative problem solving to address the unfulfilled commitment to the voters and deliver an important transit solution to our fast growing northern communities.”

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