Opinion: Joan Peck–RTD Draft of Rail Funding proposals

626
Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

It has been a while a since I, as one of Longmont’s at-large city councilors, have given an update on the work being done to bring our promised rail to Boulder County per our FasTracks vote in 2004.

The RTD Board passed a recent resolution directing staff to give proposed funding options for the four unfinished FasTracks corridors. On June 18th, staff presented the board with a draft of the proposals for discussion. The information in the draft has brought about much needed and long overdue discussion by the RTD board as well as local jurisdictions and taxpayers about the legal requirement and importance of completing the FasTracks commuter rail service.

Part of that discussion has led to some misinterpretation of 2050 as a timeline for finishing projects. The year 2050 is a revenue forecasting period per CDOT, DRCOG and RTD. 2050 is a timeline that refers to all RTD projects from the FasTracks revenue as well as the base revenue (buses, managed lanes, toll roads, etc.). It is accurate to say that if the full buildout of the Northwest rail Fastracks corridor was being demanded as the only option by the five municipalities on the NorthWest Corridor then yes, we would have to have a tax increase to fund it before the 2050 timeframe.

However, that is not what the Mayors and Commissioners Coalition (Mayors of Longmont, Boulder, Westminster, Broomfield and Lafayette) have agreed to and been actively promoting. Four years ago a starter service of a single tracked, three trains a day in the morning rush hour and three trains a day in the afternoon rush hour was agreed upon as an interim measure by the staffs and elected officials of the cities on the NW Corridor. This plan has been labeled the Peak Service. Costing less money, the Peak Service can be completed in a shorter time period and with less of a potential tax burden than the full buildout of the corridor.

It was a bit disconcerting that the Peak Service Plan was not mentioned in the Channel 7 interview or the Boulder Camera article. This has been a four year discussion with letters of support from Governor Jared Polis, staffs and elected officials of Longmont, Boulder, Broomfield, Westminster, Louisville, Commuting Solutions, Boulder County Commissioners, the Tri-Chamber Alliance of Longmont, Boulder and Broomfield, Longmont Chamber, and the Northern Area Transportation Alliance (NATA).

At the July 9th RTD meeting, the operations committee will discuss in length the various funding options presented in the draft proposal and offer other funding options. Please feel free to attend this meeting to voice your support for near term funding for our Northwest corridor rail at the public invited to be heard portion of the meeting.

It is my opinion that the resolution passed by the Longmont Council in 2017 to complete the Peak Service Commuter Rail Service plan can be completed by 2026. It is up to the RTD Board and Political will to make this happen.

Joan Peck
Longmont City Council
At-Large

This is an opinion piece that was submitted to the Longmont Observer and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Longmont Observer. If you have an opinion piece you’d like published, please visit our ‘Submit an Opinion’ page.

What's your point of view?

Do you have an opinion about this issue? Send us a letter to the editor and it may get published it on the Longmont Observer.