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Colorado Democrats ask for federal funding for Front Range rail

Colorado’s Democratic U.S. representatives sent a letter to federal officials requesting funding for the Front Range rail project that has been in the works for years.

The letter, sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration, was spearheaded by Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., and was co-signed by fellow Reps. Ed Perlmutter, Jason Crow, and Diana DeGette.

“The population among the Front Range is expected to grow by 35%, increasing the pressure on Colorado’s transportation system,” the letter read in part. “This project will help ease the burden on our roads, improve safety of commuters, and create jobs across the state.”

The Front Range rail has been in the works since at least 2017, according to the letter. Last year, Gov. Jared Polis signed off on legislation to create a district for a passenger rail that is expected to stretch more than 160 miles in total and connect 13 of Colorado’s most populous counties.

Senate Bill 21-238, which established the Front Range Passenger Rail District, allows the new agency and the Regional Transportation District to ask voters to create a series of new sales and use taxes to fund the rail project.

“We are ready to deliver Front Range Rail for Colorado to connect our communities, and to move people, ideas and goods that will help our economy thrive,” Polis said in a statement. “We are taking bold steps to reduce air pollution, fight for clean air, and, and this transformative rail project is critical to our shared efforts.”

According to a 2019 survey by Magellan Strategies and RBI Strategies, more than 85% of respondents said they support a passenger rail along the Front Range, while 10% opposed the idea.

Transportation companies like Amtrak are already planning to incorporate the Front Range rail into their networks once the railway is completed. Amtrak recently included the railway on its Connects US Future Service map, which shows the company’s possible expansion areas, according to the letter.

“Colorado stands ready to implement this important project,” the letter said.

This article was originally posted on Colorado Democrats ask for federal funding for Front Range rail

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