I just want to say that the future of the Metro Denver/Boulder region is FasTracks. No ands, ifs, or buts about it.
For those of you who live outside of the Metro Denver/Boulder area, Fast Tracks is the plan to add light rail and train service to the west, north, and east to Denver International Airport of the next 7-9 years. Work has even begun on the west line that parallels 6th Avenue.
The problem is that the project is conservatively $3 billion over budget.
When the proponents made the original estimates, to get the project approved through a ballot measure, they failed like many businesses and government agencies to factor in a contengency if the price escalated. And it did with the price of cement and steel going through the roof.
But what do we do now?Karen Benker had a pretty good op-ed in today's Rocky Mountain News where she said, "This is an investment in the long- range future of the region, and we should continue to pursue the original FasTracks plan that was supported four years ago."
This truly is a long-term investment for the future of the Metro Denver/Boulder area.
To the skeptics of FasTracks.
- Ridership has always outpaced projections. Just look at the Southwest Corridor. As soon as that line opened, it had max ridership and RTD was scrambling to get more cars and change schedules to accomodate all the riders.
- The drive times are just going to get longer. While it would take longer to take the rail now, when it opens the rail will be faster. Plus we need to do something with pollution in the region. Getting people on the rail now and off the roads will help with that.
- By having rail throughout the metro region, it will make it more economically desirable for companies to locate here if their employees can get around easier.
The north metro area is paying a tremendous amount to pay for FasTracks, but as of now it is not seeing any of the benefits and may not see any of the benefits if RTD continues on the path that they are taking.
The north metro area has long been ignored. It now has the fastest and largest growth in the metro area while the infrastructure has not seen any improvement. Just try and drive up or down Interstate 25 from 120th to Interstate 76 in the morning and evening and you will see how horrible the traffic is.
If you look around this great country of ours, any great city has a wonderful public subway or light rail line that gets people in, around, and out of their city. For many, it is the only way that they can get around. It is time that Metro Denver/Boulder region step up and get it done.