RTD Board Committee has made a recommendation on Northwest Rail

From the Regional Transportation District – The RTD Board of Directors will take a formal vote on the 2012 FasTracks Financial Plan, which will include their decision on how to move forward with the Northwest Rail Line, at the March 27 regular Board meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the RTD administrative office, 1600 Blake St. in downtown Denver.

Each year, RTD updates all inputs into the FasTracks Financial Plan, including:

– Sales and use tax forecasts

–Construction inflation assumptions

– Operations and maintenance (O&M) costs

– Capital costs

Capital cost for the FasTracks program has increased from $6.8 billion in 2011 to $7.4 billion in year-of-expenditure dollars (YOE) by 2022. Most of FasTracks is scheduled for completion by 2020.

On Tuesday, March 20, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) Board’s FasTracks Monitoring Committee endorsed the RTD staff’s hybrid option recommendation on how to proceed with the FasTracks Northwest Rail Line.

Staff recommendation keeps the Northwest Rail Line to Longmont in the FasTracks plan, but adds BRT service to address transit needs in the short-term until the full build out of the rail.

– Commuter rail will be phased in incrementally while also implementing a bus rapid transit system

– The Northwest Rail Line would be extended to Church Ranch Blvd. in Westminster by 2022

– Up to 80 miles of bus rapid transit (BRT) would be provided by 2020

– Will not delay any of the other FasTracks projects – Hybrid plan is dependent on a successful 0.4 percent sales tax election

The BRT will help meet the mobility needs of residents in the Northwest area in the short-term while the rail component is built in incremental stages as funding becomes available to fulfill the complete vision of the project.