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RTD Board authorizes Southeast Rail Extension


The RTD Board of Directors gave the go-ahead to move forward with two additional transit projects - the Southeast Rail Extension in Douglas County and bus rapid transit along Colorado 119 between Boulder and Longmont.

These projects will be included in RTD's amendment to the region's 2040 Regional Transportation Plan, or RTP, which RTD will submit to the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) in early August.



At the regular Board meeting July 15, 2014, the RTD Board authorized a $207 million extension of the existing Southeast Light Rail Line farther south into Lone Tree along with a $75 million bus rapid transit or BRT route along Colorado Highway 119 in the northwest area.

"These two projects are huge from a regional perspective because they promote progress in the northwest and southeast parts of the metro region, and it's another example of the tremendous cooperation we enjoy as a region," said Board Chair Chuck Sisk. "Both projects are subject to receiving federal funds, but RTD has a successful history in securing federal funds to help build regional projects."

RELATED: Read more about the bus rapid transit plan

Focus on the Southeast extension

The Board approved a plan to keep the Southeast Light Rail Extension in the pipeline to receive a potential federal grant from the Federal Transit Administration. If the project garners $92 million in federal funds, the line would extend an additional 2.3 miles from Lincoln Station to RidgeGate Parkway. The Board's move was a key step in RTD's efforts to receive federal funds for the project.

Stakeholders in the southeast have committed to contributing $35 million to $40 million in cash, rights-of-way and other items to get the light rail extension project completed. This local match would comprise 16.5 percent of the project cost and far exceeds the 2.5 percent match RTD has asked of its local partners. Of the project's total $207 million cost, RTD's investment would be $66 million or about 32 percent.

Since the 2007 economic downturn, when building costs skyrocketed and tax revenues plummeted, RTD has sought funding from alternative sources to build and complete FasTracks projects. The leveraging of public and private funds and federal grants has increased RTD's ability to move forward with its transit expansion program.

For the past few years, the market has dictated which FasTracks projects get done. This has led to the construction of two projects: the I-225 Light Rail Line, from the current end-of-line Nine Mile station to I-70 and Peoria, and the North Metro Line from Union Station to 124th Street in Thornton.
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