Denver transit board plans to restart rail line planning

DENVER (AP) — The Regional Transportation District has decided to restart planning of its delayed commuter rail line between Denver, Boulder and Longmont.

The agency’s board of directors signaled its support Tuesday for new environmental and engineering work that will likely take up to two years and cost from $5 million to $8 million.

The board is expected to provide its formal approval this summer, Colorado Public Radio reported.

The planning work is meant to capitalize on federal funds that could potentially come from President Joe Biden's recent infrastructure proposal.

“The time for talk is over. The time for action is now,” said board member Doug Tisdale, who represents some southern suburbs. “We have a window of funding that is available to us now. A window that could very easily close in November 2022.”

The rail line was a part of the 2004 FasTracks expansion plan that raised sales taxes by four cents on a $10 purchase. The agency has since opened up six new rail lines and a new express bus line between Boulder and Denver as part of that project.

But costs for the B Line have increased from almost $500 million to more than $1.5 billion, and final construction is not expected to be completed until at least the 2040s. Currently, only a six-mile stretch to Westminster exists.