The Mile-High City Gets Back to Its Rail Roots

Happy news out of Denver. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in town yesterday for a tour of the under-construction West Rail Transit line, part of 122 miles of passenger rail the region is planning as part of its FasTracks program.

Denver's plan to add 122 miles of passenger rail is boosting the local economy. Photo: fastlane.dot.gov/2012/02/west-rail-line-denver.htmlThe Fast Lane

The secretary’s blog, The Fast Lane, discusses how this project promises to be, on many levels, a winner for the Mile-High City:

The enthusiasm in yesterday’s crowd was electric. It’s not hard to see why. The West Rail Line is 85% complete, and the mock-ups and progress to date indicate a beautiful, state-of-the-art transit system.  The new line will allow tourists and commuters to spend less time in traffic and less money on gas. That’s something everyone can appreciate.

Not only will the FasTracks program provide an efficient and cost-effective way to get to and from work, school or the airport; but it is also creating jobs right now.  There are more than 500 men and women working on the West Rail Line alone. FasTracks estimates that its plan will eventually provide work for 4,200 others.

But we can’t be content to see this progress in just one city.  All across America, there is work to be done on projects like the West Rail Line.  More and more Americans are looking for greater choices in transportation today, and it’s important we provide the funding to ensure transit remains one of the available choices.  Now is the time to connect people who need work with the work we need to do improving our nation’s transit centers, highways, railways, airports and ports.

This is exactly the type of investment in the future that other cities would miss out under the House GOP proposal to strip transit projects of dedicated federal funding stream.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Mobilizing the Region reports that political leaders in the New York-New Jersey region are united in their opposition to the House transit proposal. Streets.mn asks if traffic engineers’ roadway classification system is an outdated way of understanding transportation dynamics. And Suburban Assault introduces Dallas’s first bike café.