About Rocky Mountain Rail Authority
Rocky Mountain Rail Authority (RMRA)
c/o Clear Creek County
PO Box 2000
Georgetown, CO 80444
CDOT has required that a local government receive the SB-1 Transit Grant as applied for by the Front Range Commuter Rail organization for a high speed rail feasibility study for Colorado. This requirement lead to the creation of the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority (RMRA) which is a multi jurisdictional government body created through Intergovernmental Agreement. RMRA will receive the grant monies from CDOT and complete the high speed rail feasibility study for Colorado.
The Rocky Mountain Rail Authority is conducting a one-year study of the technical, financial and economic feasibility of implementing high-speed intercity passenger rail service within Colorado and into neighboring states that could provide seamless travel throughout the state’s most populated corridors.
The study will evaluate the provision of high speed passenger train service connecting the cities and counties along the Front Range, the I-70 Corridor and other locations within the state.
Within the I-70 Corridor, high-speed rail service would connect Colorado’s most populated region and Denver International Airport to the mountains and the Western Slope, supporting some of Colorado’s largest economic drivers – tourism, agriculture, and energy.
Within the I-25 Corridor, high-speed rail service would connect Denver with the growing technology-driven and military communities in northern and southern Colorado, as well as with other burgeoning communities along the Front Range, and would generally focus on the use of existing rail corridors.
If this service is found to be feasible and funding is obtained, not only would trips from Denver to the mountains and northern Colorado communities to Colorado Springs and Pueblo become a reality, but, so would trips from Grand Junction to Pueblo and Fort Collins to Summit and Eagle Counties.
The study will not make decisions about specific alignments or station locations. Rather, it will identify the most feasible alignment(s) and station locations through a collaborative process with representatives from local communities.
- The RMRA is a governmental body made up of 45 member-counties, municipalities and other organizations along both the I-70 and I-25 corridors. It was created to explore passenger rail as part of a viable transportation solution for Colorado.
- We have begun a year-long $1.5 million collaborative study, funded by the Colorado Department of Transportation and RMRA member jurisdictions, to determine whether inter-city, high-speed rail is technically, financially and economically feasible in the near future for Colorado’s I-25 and I-70 corridors. Five secondary corridors linking I-70 to major recreation areas will also be examined (Steamboat/Craig, Aspen, Breckenridge, Winter Park, and Central City). Within the Denver area, we will examine the opportunity to access DIA directly. A map of the study area was emailed to you with the media materials but it is also available on RMRA’s web site at www.rockymountainrail.org.
- The study will evaluate planning, engineering, and economic aspects to determine whether or not high-speed rail is a feasible option that should be further evaluated for one or both corridors. These include:
- The full range of high-speed rail technologies;
- Alignments capable of supporting average speeds greater than 90 mph;
- Potential station locations
- Cost-benefit ratios and operating ratios;
- Ridership and revenue levels;
- Potential economic benefits to local communities and the state;
- Levels of federal, state, and local financial support that can be expected, as well as opportunities for private financing through Public-Private Partnerships; and
- Recommended next steps
- In addition, the study will closely collaborate with other ongoing planning studies and projects in both corridors, including the I-70 Coalition’s land-use planning study, CDOT’s Railroad Relocation Implementation Study and RTD’s FasTracks program. RMRA will also work closely with governmental agencies, representatives and the public from local communities, the freight railroads and other strategic partners in each corridor to gather input on various aspects of the potential projects.
- If, at the end of the year-long process, the study determines that high-speed rail is feasible in one or both of these corridors then the corridor will be presented to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for potential designation as the nation’s eleventh High-Speed Rail Corridor, establishing eligibility for specially targeted federal funding. We would also expect to seek additional State funding from CDOT and the Legislature.
The initial RMRA Establishing Contract was approved by two local governments, Clear Creek County and the Town of Monument. Together they have invited every local government in the state interested in passenger rail service to join the RMRA. Every government that passes and signs the RMRA Contract paperwork will have on-going representation on the RMRA Board of Directors.