Tom Munds The Regional Transportation District plans a series of meetings so people can comment on five possible options for changes to FasTracks. …
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The Regional Transportation District plans a series of meetings
so people can comment on five possible options for changes to
Officials acknowledge increasing costs, coupled with declining
revenues, make it impossible to build the entire FasTracks project
and complete it as promised by 2017.
Members of RTD staff and board of directors will be on hand for
the meetings scheduled Sept. 23 to Oct. 24 to talk about the
possible options to deal with the budget crunch.
Build FasTracks according to the original timetable, using
available revenues. That would mean not all of the project could be
Extend the schedule to build FasTracks as planned. This could
push the completion date to around 2034.
Seek voter approval for additional revenues to complete the
entire project on time.
Create a revised service system, including a single-track rail
layout in some areas, which would reduce service frequency.
Cal Marsalla, RTD director, said in a recent interview that the
district is dedicated to making sure any changes in the FasTracks
plan are equitable.
"The financial situation means we must make changes in out
FasTracks plans," he said. "However, we want to see the entire
FasTracks plan constructed and plan to do it. I just can't tell you
when it will all be completed."
He noted the West Corridor to the Jefferson County Government
Center is currently under construction and on time. He also said
federal funds should make it possible to have a commuter-rail line
running from Union Station to Denver International Airport.
Marsalla said all the options and details of progress of
FasTracks will be explained in full at the meetings so people will
have the information they need to comment on the proposals.
The final decisions rest with the RTD board and the comments
from public meetings will be summarized and provided to board
members along with the other data and information well before they
vote on the issue.
The first step is holding the public meetings, and those
scheduled in the local area include:
Oct. 1 - Aurora Center for Active Adults, 30 Del Mar Circle at 6
Oct, 2 - Ken Caryl Ranch House Recreation Center, 7676 S.
Continental Divide Road, Jefferson County - 6 p.m.
Oct. 2 - Englewood Civic Center community room, 1000 Englewood
Parkway, Englewood - 6 p.m.
Oct. 22 - Lone Tree City Council Chambers, 8527 Lone Tree
Parkway, Lone Tree - 6 p.m.
Oct. 23 - Metro District of Highlands Ranch, 62 W. Plaza Drive,
Highlands Ranch - 6 p.m.
The officials will hold a total of 16 meeting. The full list of
dates, times and locations can be found on the Web site at www.rtd-fastracks.com
After years of work, RTD brought forth the FasTracks proposal,
noting the need for additional funds to build the plan to expand
and improve the mass transit system in the metro area. The proposal
outlined the planned transit improvements and set a timeline to
complete construction by 2017. Voters approved increasing RTD's
portion of the sales tax from sixth-tenths of a cent to a penny on
The voter go-ahead launched the effort to construct an
additional 119 miles of light rail and commuter rail service,
transforming Union Station into a transit hub, creating five new
park-N-Ride facilities and improving existing bus routes.
Officials used tested computer models to forecast costs and
revenues. The original cost was pegged at $4.7 billion and figured
costs to go up at a rate of about 3.3 percent. However,
construction and material costs have skyrocketed, increasing at
about 11 percent a year. Additionally, revenues were predicted to
increase at about 6 percent a year but, reflecting the slow
economy, revenues have only increases about 2.5 percent a year. The
result is current estimates are it will cost $7.9 billion to
construct FasTracks as planned while, at the same time, revenues
are expected to fall about $2.8 billion short of projections.
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