Monorail to Eagle County sure is possible
Beaver Creek, CO, Colorado
I wanted to write in response to Thomas Hopkins’s article, in which it is said that I am “breezily” suggesting the construction of a high-speed monorail.
First off, I completely disagree with Hopkins in regards to honoring the “grand compromise” that has been negotiated with Gov. Ritter. It is true that our governor has agreed to review monorail plans, but the review will not happen until 2020, when Ritter will have been out of office for a number of years. We have no idea whether Colorado’s next set of governors will honor a review in 2020, and let us also not forget that 2020 is 12 years away. The problem will be much worse by then; if anything, we need a monorail built by 2020, not a review.
Secondly, Hopkins cites his work on the 2001 monorail ballot initiative as a testimony to his experience on this issue. However, I saw many flaws within the 2001 initiative for monorail construction. In its essence, the ballot initiative, if passed, would have given $50 million in tax dollars to a private company for the purpose of constructing a test monorail track and system. There were no guarantees, from what I know, that Colorado would patent this technology and own it, nor that the people of Colorado would benefit from, basically, backing the “invention” of this new technology.
In addition, states are not responsible for spending millions on experimental technology ” that is what companies who are bidding for a project are supposed to do. Thus, spending $50 million, of taxpayer money on a test track in Pueblo, where high grades are nonexistent and precipitation is far less in comparison to Eagle and Summit counties, in an effort to simulate high country conditions, seems like a sham to me.
The facts are very important. My good friend Harry Dale, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority, has acquired $3 million to study the monorail. If his study, which will be completed next summer, finds that it is a useful idea, then we will qualify for major federal funding for any mass-transit project. Fourteen companies, with some offering up to $2 billion, are vying to build this train as well.
Hopkins himself confirmed that a competent train system will yield massive ridership, easily paying off this project without major tax increases.
The other fact is that these systems already exist. Stadler-Rail makes an excellent winter train in Switzerland that goes through high grades and treacherous snow. Japan also boasts a great bullet train that goes from Tokyo to Nagano in record time. The technology is clearly out there, and we have options to choose from.
So at the end of the day, who do you trust? A private company that is willing to invest $2 billion of its own funds into a monorail project, or a private company that wants $50 million in taxpayer money to build a test track in Pueblo? We can make the monorail happen, and unlike 2001, our steps toward the project will be much more intelligent.
Republican candidate for House District 56
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