DENVER, CO– The House Transportation and Local Government Committee today advanced Majority Leader Daneya Esgar and Rep. Matt Gray’s bill to lay the groundwork for the development of a high-speed passenger rail to connect Colorado from our Northern to our Southern borders. The bill passed by a vote of 7-4.
“Front Range Rail has been a priority of my Southern Colorado constituents for years now, and I’m proud we took this bold step forward today,” said Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo. “Keeping Coloradans connected from the New Mexico to the Wyoming borders is good for all Coloradans, and will go a long way toward ensuring that Colorado’s economic growth is shared across the state. Given the President’s passion for passenger rail, it’s more important than ever to lay the groundwork to ensure Colorado is ready to receive and invest federal transportation funds quickly and efficiently.”
“Colorado’s transportation systems are lagging behind our neighboring states, and we’re working hard this session to keep our state competitive for years to come,” said Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield. “Developing high-speed passenger rail is just one more step we can take to help lower emissions, boost local economies, and improve mobility for communities across the state. I’m proud of the work we did to make it a reality today.”
SB21-238 would create the Front Range Passenger Rail District and tasks it with conducting the necessary research, development, construction, operation and maintenance of the Front Range Rail system, which would connect Coloradans living and working along the I-25 corridor. The bill outlines funding options, and authorizes the District to pursue a sales and use tax that would be subject to voter approval.
The District would be overseen by a board of directors that would be instructed to work closely with RTD and Amtrak to ensure the passenger rail and transit systems are compatible and work well for travelers. The bill ensures Colorado will be in position to benefit from the federal government’s proposed investment in railroad development.