In the 2004 election, voters approved the Gold Line as part of the FasTracks program, and five years later the Gold Line Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was completed. Yet the Gold Line EIS did not start from scratch, rather it built upon the recommendations from previous studies, using them as a starting point for analysis.
RTD has studied the potential for the Gold Line to operate as a rail transit rail line for well over 15 years. Prior to the Gold Line EIS, RTD completed three studies for the corridor: the Gold Line Commuter Rail Project (1997), the Gold Line Major Investment Study (2000) and the Three Corridors Scoping Study (2005).
The 2000 Gold Line Major Investment Study (MIS) evaluated transit alternatives on the I-70 Denver to Golden rail line. Out of 17 transportation alternatives, the MIS selected one Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA). The LPA called for the implementation of Light Rail Transit on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific Railroad alignment from Denver Union Station to the vicinity of the RTD park-n-Ride at Ward Road in Wheat Ridge. You can download the complete Major Investment Study by clicking here (please note that this file is 5MB and may take a long time to download, depending on your connection speed).
The 2005 Three Corridors Scoping Study furthered RTD's analysis of the Gold Line LPA. The study recommended several changes, including shifting the alignment at several points and relocating the Ward Road Station to north of the current park-n-Ride.
Finally, the Gold Line Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was completed in November 2009 when the Federal Transit Administration issued a Record of Decision, paving the way for RTD to move into final design and construction. The highly detailed analysis in the EIS further refined RTD's project recommendations, calling for the Gold Line to have electric commuter rail (rather than light rail) along the Union Pacific/BNSF railroad route. All of the Gold Line EIS documents are available on our website.