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RTD seeks feedback on pared-down B Line expansion to Boulder, Longmont

Posted at 9:53 PM, Jan 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-01 00:23:34-05

BOULDER, Colo. — Coloradans have been waiting nearly two decades for the voter-approved expansion of Regional Transportation District’s B Line from Denver through Boulder to Longmont. A proposal to finally see service could be in sight, but it could mean a paired down version of the plan, at least to start.

In two town halls with riders and residents, RTD is seeking feedback on its “Northwest Rail Peak Service Study,” which suggests a B Line expansion with three southbound trips from Longmont to Denver in the morning and three returning northbound trips in the evening.

“The feasibility study is just looking at those three trips. That would help us get closer to implementing the FasTracks 2004 bonds,” said Brandon Figliolino, senior specialist for community engagement with RTD. “It’s with a partnership with BNSF to allow for us to utilize part of their rail line, and so there’s a reduced amount of infrastructure that would be needed for us to start this as opposed to implementing the full buildout.”

According to RTD, the most recent studies of the project found that all-day service along the B Line expansion would require an estimated $1.5 billion in capital costs and more than $20 million to operate and maintain each year. Partnering with BNSF would require fewer trips each day, but could allow for the project to begin sooner and be done at a lower cost.

More than a hundred people attended the first open house with RTD officials in Boulder Tuesday evening to ask questions and provide feedback on the proposal.

“I remember in fifth grade when I first found out about FasTracks. Now FasTracks, of course, was voted for when I was only four years old, and I’m 22 now, and we’re still waiting for the Longmont train,” said Adrian Vigil, who is open to study. “I think it’s a very good start for the project going forward. And you know, I’d love to see them flourish and succeed.”

Many of the open house attendees were advocates for public transit, and regularly use RTD buses and trains as their primary mode of transportation. They each said they want to see something materialize with the project, even if it is smaller in scope at first.

“They pretty heavily emphasized that it’s a start, you know, not an end in itself,” Gable Patterson said of his conversations with RTD officials at the open house. “I definitely think that eventually, there’s a lot more potential for more service than that. But, it’s good for a start.”

The second RTD open house for its Northwest Rail Peak Service Study is Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Westminster City Park Recreation Center.

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