This summer the Colorado Department of Transportation is taking a fresh look at their investment priorities and asking people across Colorado what matters to their lives and what transportation can do to get them there. For Trinidad, that means a possible extension of Amtrak passenger rails as well as other transportation services for greater access along the Front Range. But, being only in the evaluation phase, it may take a several years to actually see anything come to fruition.

CDOT is partnering with the Southwest Chief and Front Range Passenger Rail Commission to consider how a passenger rail service from Fort Collins continuing on to Trinidad and into New Mexico could meet demands of our growing state.

Mayor Phil Rico, who also serves on the board with the Front Range Passenger Rail Commission, said the feedback was important with moving forward on a possible expansion.

We’re trying to accumulate information on how people feel about the Front Range passenger rail services,” said Rico. “The basis of the study will allow us to have numbers and public feedback to take to present to state and federal legislators to support a possible expansion.”

The CDOT website stated that if no improvements are made to the I-25 corridor, vehicle travel times are expected to double in the next 20 years and a passenger rail from Fort Collins to Pueblo could meet some of the demands of our growing state.

Some 75 percent of Coloradoans drive alone to work and 5.3 percent of households do not have access to a car. Many people do not want to, are unable, or cannot afford to drive. Travel choices like biking, walking, and transit, can improve quality of life by connecting people to essential destinations like medical services and shopping.

Larimer and Weld Counties together will grow 65 percent from 0.7 million to nearly 1.2 million people. El Paso County will grow 39 percent from 0.7 million to 1.1 million persons. Metro Denver will grow 27 percent from 3.3 million to 4.2 million people.

Over 83 percent of Colorado’s population lives along the Front Range. In the next 25 years, the Front Range is forecasted to grow from 4.9 million people in 2020 to 6.6 million in 2045, a 35 percent increase.

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