2:30pm

Thu May 24, 2012
Politics

FasTracks Completion Date Now 2044

The public transportation system of tomorrow will be completed...well, tomorrow. RTD says its FasTracks program will now be fully constructed by 2044, two years later then earlier estimates.

Financial models released by the Regional Transportation District show full completion delayed by two years. The Northwest Corridor rail line to Longmont, which RTD has said will be the last segment completed, now looks to open in 2044.

The original 2042 completion date was dependent on a proposed voter approved .04% sales tax increase requested by RTD's Board of Directors.

In an unanimous decision April 24th, the board decided against the ballot initiative, instead focusing efforts on exploring other funding options including public/private partnerships and grants.

It's Still The Economy...

When voters approved the FasTracks initiative eight years ago, completion was set for 2017-2020.

Back in March, RTD Spokeswoman Paulette Tonilas said skyrocketing material costs coupled with the severe economic downturn caused a two million dollar gap in funding. That pushed the completion date back to 2042.

"We couldn't have predicted the cost of construction material like copper, concrete, steel, diesel fuel to escalate to the degree that they did."

The cost to complete the project was estimated earlier this year to be 7.4 billion dollars.

Public Input Needed

State Representative Jonathan Singer, who's district includes Longmont, is disappointed the RTD ballot initiative was taken off the table, and sees public involvement as vital to the completion of the project.

"There's a lot we can do as state representatives to foster some of those public/private partnerships. But also, more importantly, the way I look at this is a public/public partnership. The idea that our residents have a voice, and are heard in whatever RTD plans to do."

Eight corridors of the full twelve approved by voters are now under construction, with the West Rail Line to Golden slated to open eight months ahead of schedule in April of next year.