Governor Ritter applauds $1.4 million grant to advance high-speed rail. Today, Governor Ritter praised the announcement that Colorado received $1.4 million in High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail grants from the Recovery Act to create a sophisticated plan for connecting rail transit systems in Colorado.
“High-speed rail is an important component of building Colorado’s transportation infrastructure to provide more sustainable and affordable options for Coloradans,” Governor Ritter said. “These grants complement work already being done by a network of groups and my bi-partisan transportation panel.”
The two grants were awarded to the Colorado Department of Transportation and are among $8 billion in grants announced today by President Obama and Vice President Biden to develop the country’s first nationwide program of high-speed intercity passenger rail service.
Colorado was awarded a $1 million grant to conduct a Connectivity Study. This $2 million study (including $1 million in state funds as a match) will examine at how high-speed rail systems outside the Denver metro area might interface with RTD’s FasTracks system.
This study will build upon previous rail studies to determine where high speed intercity passenger rail stations would ideally need to connect with RTD lines to maximize ridership. It will also examine whether such connections are feasible.
Colorado was also awarded a $400,000 grant to develop a State Rail Plan. The grant will be matched with $400,000 in state funds. A State Rail Plan is required to qualify for a national designation of a high speed rail corridor allowing for future federal funding opportunities. This plan will also be included as part of the National Rail Plan and will consider other nearby state rail plans so that potential for transcontinental connectivity for both freight and passenger rail is enhanced.
Both studies are expected to be underway this summer and will include extensive stakeholder and public input.
These grants add to $143 million from the Recovery Act already being put to work in Colorado to improve transit systems around the state and to create jobs. The Regional Transportation District is using $40 million to help finance the West Corridor Line project, which is underway. The remaining funds are being used by RTD, Mesa County and the cities of Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Greeley and Pueblo. About $10 million is being used to build a new bus maintenance facility in Summit County.
At least $6.7 billion in Recovery Act funding is expected to come to Colorado through more than 100 different programs, including tax cuts for 1.8 million families, increased safety net benefits and infrastructure projects that are creating or saving thousands of jobs.
For more information about the Recovery Act in Colorado, visit www.colorado.gov/recovery.
Source: Press Release (Posted 1:17p)