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High speed rail in Colorado?

Summit Daily News staff report

Gov. Bill Ritter today announced that Colorado is partnering with New Mexico and Texas to apply for a high-speed rail corridor designation between El Paso and Denver, running through New Mexico.

Congress has authorized up to 11 high-speed corridors across the U.S. Currently only ten corridors have been designated. The three-state partnership is seeking the 11th and final designation and will seek federal funding to complete a feasibility study.

“High-speed rail has long been a conversation in Colorado, and this designation would provide the funding needed to further examine its feasibility,” said Ritter. “There is a great deal of movement of people, goods and services along the Front Range and the entire Colorado-Texas-New Mexico corridor, and it is high time Congress designate a Western corridor. This designation would connect our communities, increase economic opportunities, create jobs, and lead Colorado’s transportation infrastructure forward.”

Earlier this year, President Obama launched an aggressive effort to develop a national network of high-speed passenger rail lines. The president unveiled a strategic plan identifying $8 billion in federal stimulus funds and a separate five-year, $5 billion investment as a down payment to jump-start the nation’s high-speed rail lines.

“The overwhelming success of the New Mexico RailRunner is proof of the demand for more modern, efficient and environmentally friendly transportation options,” New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said. “High-speed rail is the future of our country and is going to be a major boost to the economic vitality of the cities and states along its routes. With this designation, New Mexico will be in better position to meet the evolving economic, workforce and transportation demands of the 21st Century.”

“Improving and expanding our transportation infrastructure is vitally important in a state that grows by more than 1,000 people each day,” Texas Governor Rick Perry said. “As we look for more efficient ways to keep Texans moving, high-speed rail is an important option, which is why I am supportive of this and other high-speed rail projects across Texas.”

Colorado, New Mexico and Texas could receive up to $5 million from the Federal Railroad Administration under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 to study the viability of the El Paso to Denver High-Speed Rail Corridor. The three states will submit the joint pre-application for funds tomorrow, Friday, July 10.


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