© 2023
NPR for Northern Colorado
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Stories & news items from our Content Partners: Northern Colorado Business Report, Boulder County Business Report, Colorado Public Television, The Colorado Statesmen, and Education News Colorado.

Could High Speed Rail Be Coming To Northern Colorado?

Creative Commons/Flickr

A study exploring the feasibility of high-speed rail from Fort Collins to Pueblo has identified five potential routes along the I-25 corridor that could carry more than 10 million passengers annually.

The $2.8 million study was launched last spring by the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration. It comes as Colorado emerges from the Great Recession and traffic has begun to pick up dramatically -- to the annoyance of many commuters.

With strong growth projected for the Front Range, that congestion is only going to get worse, says Northern Colorado Business Report publisher Jeff Nuttall.

“Traffic studies indicate that car and truck traffic is supposed to double by 2035, and that will add a huge burden to an already over-used road system,” Nuttall says.

Preliminary cost estimates indicate a $15 billion price tag for the project – roughly three times more than the cost for RTD's FasTracks project. Nuttall points out the high-speed rail project would be much larger than FasTracks because it would serve the entire Front Range, not just metro Denver.


Interview highlights:

What would a high-speed rail line look like along I-25?

"Well, it would be fast. These trains travel at speeds up to 147 miles per hour. Depending on which route is selected, the line might connect Fort Collins with Denver International Airport; or it might take passengers into downtown Denver to the new Union Station, where they could catch a train out to DIA or travel farther south to Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

One of the beauties of high-speed rail is that it is fast -- and it could be built in a way that complements existing mass transit systems, such as metro Denver’s FasTracks."

Can northern Colorado afford to build something like this?

"That’s something our elected leaders and voters will ultimately have to decide. Early cost/benefit projections indicate that the rail lines are appealing to commuters, and that they would generate enough annual revenue to more than cover operating costs."

How long would it take to build this?

"Planners say -- if they get the go-ahead, of course -- that it will be important to get an initial test segment up and running in the next 10 to 12 years, with full build-out completed by 2035."

As host of KUNC's Colorado Edition, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. And because life is best when it's a balance of work and play, I love finding stories that highlight culture, music, the outdoors, and anything that makes Colorado such a great place to live.
Northern Colorado Business Report publisher Jeff Nuttall helped establish the business journal in 1995 and its expansion to a biweekly format in 1999. Jeff is involved with numerous community activities in Ft. Collins. He discusses regional business and economic issues impacting northern Colorado every other Thursday at 5:35 and 7:35 during KUNC’s Morning Edition.
Related Content