Colorado transportation leaders are banking on buses and trains as population surges | VailDaily.com

Colorado transportation leaders are banking on buses and trains as population surges

Critics worry about road needs, while transit advocates laud Bustang’s planned expansion

By Jon Murray
The Denver Post
The Colorado Department of Transportation launched the Bustang in July 2015. The three-route public service has experienced considerable gains in ridership since that time, most notably on its Western Slope line to and from Denver.
Summit Daily file photo

Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell likes the highway expansion he’s seeing on Interstate 25 near his city these days. He also likes the way he sees it — from inside a bus.

For occasional trips to Denver, Troxell has become a fan of Bustang, the fast-growing regional bus service started four years ago by the Colorado Department of Transportation — the same agency responsible for the $330 million I-25 North Express Lanes Project.

“I’ve found the Bustang to be very useful and convenient from our park-n-ride centers here,” Troxell said, and last year he was joined by more than 238,000 riders on Bustang’s core routes north, south and west of Denver.

Get ready to see more of those purple-and-black coach buses. The addition of new Bustang routes — to ferry late-summer tourists to Estes Park and skiers to several resorts this winter — is just one transit-expansion strategy emerging in the early days of Gov. Jared Polis’ administration. The state also is kicking off a long-in-the-works feasibility study for a potential Front Range rail line.

More than ever, CDOT under the Democratic governor is embracing a “multimodal” focus that puts as much emphasis on buses, the potentially costly train route and other forms of transit as it does on highway expansions. Though that shift began under his predecessors, it has the potential to be legacy-making for Polis.

Read more via The Denver Post.