Front Range Commuter Rail

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The Front Range Commuter Rail is a non-profit corporation whose goal is to bring a high-speed commuter rail corridor to the Front Range of Colorado, United States, with extensions to neighboring Wyoming and New Mexico. The group is affiliated with an intergovernmental agreement called the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority (RMRA). The stated goal of the organization is to have commuter rail up and running at the same time as the Denver Regional Transportation District's FasTracks mass transit comes on-line in 2014.

History[edit]

Front Range Commuter Rail was founded on December 2, 2004 by Bob Briggs in Westminster, Colorado. The proposed line was dubbed the "Ranger Express" and received high-profile support from Colorado senator Ken Salazar [1]. New Mexico governor Bill Richardson's upcoming Rail Runner commuter rail system in New Mexico also provided impetus for the project. New Mexico's purchase of BNSF rail lines between Albuquerque and Raton, NM provided some speculation that the purchase was made to help facilitate Front Range Commuter Rail and Ranger Express, but no evidence of any formal agreement exists today.

On September 20, 2006 the Transportation Commission of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) approved $1,246,000 for the 11th Rocky Mountain Corridor for High Speed Rail Feasibility Study [2]. The study area includes the I-25 corridor from Wyoming to New Mexico and the I-70 corridor from Utah to Denver International Airport (DIA). This enabled the RMRA to begin acquiring governmental members.

As of May, 2007 the RMRA has raised over $415,000 in matching funds, exceeding the required 20% match on the CDOT grant. On April 26, 2007 RMRA members signed a commitment letter to CDOT with a total dollar amount of $325,000, allowing the feasibility study to commence. Study activities began in June 2008 [3].

RMRA Members[edit]

The current list of RMRA members includes:

Municipalities
County Governments
Transit Agencies

Goals[edit]

Front Range Commuter Rail seeks the following goals to bring commuter rail to the Rocky Mountain Region.

Phase I 
Introduction and Establishment. Founder Bob Briggs has publicized the effort to gain commuter rail for Colorado.
Phase II 
Feasibility Study Financed. Front Range Commuter Rail seeks the three states involved (New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming) to jointly fund a feasibility study at the cost of $2.19 million as required by the Federal Railroad Administration.
Phase III 
Feasibility Study and FRA 11th High Speed Rail Corridor Designation. As a part of the feasibility study, Front Range Commuter Rail hopes that its planned route can be included as the eleventh high priority corridor for the Federal Railroad Administration. This is the current phase for the project.
Phase IV 
Election to Establish Statewide District/Authority and Infrastructure Funding. Front Range Commuter Rail seeks to create a special taxing district to raise taxpayer funds for the corridor. This would need to be approved on the ballot by the voters of the states involved. In Colorado, this would require holding the election on an even numbered year, either in 2008 or 2010.
Phase V 
Establish District/Authority and Build Infrastructure. The authority would be responsible for the design, implementation, and building of the rail corridor.

External links[edit]