Sunday, October 22, 2017

Front Range rail service depends on Denver's future

As the New Mexico Rail Runner suffers a downturn in ridership Move Cheyenne is studying passenger rail to Denver.
The Action & Advocacy Committee of The Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce met on October 10, 2017, in Cheyenne. Chamber CEO/President, Dale Steenbergen, shared more on the Move Cheyenne initiative that focuses on solutions for the I-25 corridor. "Our businesses need accessibility to/from Denver. Rail and road are our primary areas of focus to achieve this." stated Steenbergen. The partnership of Chambers of Commerce along the Front Range works to strengthen the advocacy related to the Move Cheyenne initiative. This collaboration will help provide regional solutions for regional issues. Wyoming Wranglers, the program funding a Lobbyist at the Federal Level, is also focusing on transportation and will work to drive the budget towards supporting a regional project, such as this. [Move Cheyenne]
Denver is lobbying hard to attract Amazon's second headquarters although Albuquerque has an outside chance.
Bernalillo County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins, chairwoman of the Rio Metro board, said she expects Rail Runner ridership to bounce back as the economy improves. Public transportation is important to economic development efforts, she said, as shown by Amazon’s desire for a strong mass transit system wherever it builds its new headquarters. And, of course, some people already rely on the Rail Runner to get to work, she said. [Albuquerque Journal]
A bi-annual survey found 86 percent of regular riders of the New Mexico Rail Runner rate the service very high. 77 percent of the passengers believe price structure is good or excellent.

About 126,000 boardings and departures by Southwest Chief riders are made each year in New Mexico. Amtrak says it employs 57 New Mexicans and total wages were about $5.2 million in 2014.

Denver International Airport is Hell to fly into and then finding a way back into the city complicated and expensive. If the political will existed the Rail Runner could access the Lamy spur from Santa Fe and go directly into Denver serving Colorado communities along the way.

Equip the Rail Runner to connect with Amtrak farther south in New Mexico then on to El Paso and put the Rail Runner into downtown Denver to connect with the California Zephyr, maybe into Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Anyone with me?

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