Study approved for high-speed rail |

Study approved for high-speed rail

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colorado ” The Rocky Mountain Rail Authority (RMRA) decided to begin a year-long $1.5 million feasibility study to analyze a high speed rail system for Colorado.

The study was approved via phone conference Tuesday and will determine whether inter-city, high-speed rail is technically, financially and economically feasible for Colorado’s Interstate 25 and Interstate 70 corridors.

RMRA Chairman and Clear Creek County Commissioner Harry Dale said the state is in need of faster, safer and more efficient ways to commute to and from work, conduct business across the state and to access the state’s world-class recreational opportunities.

“This study is the first step in determining whether high-speed service connecting the cities and counties along the Front Range, the I-70 corridor and other locations within the state is a viable option to serve our future transportation needs,” Dale said.

Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) Chief Executive Officer Dan Blankenship agreed with Dale, saying that with the high energy cost at their current levels, Colorado residents should be looking for more efficient transportation alternatives.

“To be competitive ” long term ” in the world economy, given the fact that energy will become more expensive and is going to become more insufficient in supply, it just makes sense to develop our public transportation availability,” Blankenship said.

Blankenship said RFTA has recently become a member of the RMRA, which consists of more than 45 cities, counties and organizations throughout the state.

The study will provide a fresh, independent and objective evaluation of alignments, station locations and high-speed rail technologies to identify the most feasible alternatives for both corridors and develop an investment-grade business plan for their implementation. The most feasible alternatives will be submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration for designation as high-speed rail corridors, which would make them eligible for specially targeted funding, a press release stated. The study will not decide specific alignments or station locations, but will determine which routes and station locations would be the most efficient through a collaborative effort involving representatives from local communities.

The study is expected to be complete by July 2009.

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

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