Commuter rail group to detail plans for $3 billion system

A group behind a push for a $3 billion commuter rail that would link Northern Colorado with Denver will share its plans with the public Saturday.

Northern Colorado Commuter Rail earlier this year unveiled its plan for establishing a rail system to Denver that would alleviate traffic congestion and air pollution.

The long-discussed idea of such a rail system would connect rail in Northern Colorado with RTD’s FasTracks system in metro Denver.

The plan includes the potential use of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Union Pacific and Great Western Railway to develop a rail system that connects Northern Colorado communities to each other and to Denver.

The proposed rail system could include as many as 94 rail stations at full build-out, according to Northern Colorado Commuter Rail.

The cost for the system is estimated at $3 billion, based on unit costs derived from the 2010 Rocky Mountain Rail Authority High Speed Rail Study.

The organization estimates that the annual operating costs of the system would be $205.4 million to $276.2 million, depending on ridership.

Northern Colorado Commuter Rail will make its plan available to the public in two meetings Saturday.

The first will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Old Town branch of the Poudre River Public Library, located at 201 Peterson St. in Fort Collins. The second meeting will be held in Loveland, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Gertrude Scott Meeting Room at the Loveland Public Library, located at 300 N. Adams St.

The plan assembled by Northern Colorado Commuter Rail addresses:

  • The rationale for developing the system;
  • a rail system map for a completed system;
  • prioritization criteria and a preliminary phasing plan;
  • preferred technology;
  • cost estimates;
  • preliminary ridership projections;
  • potential funding sources;
  • potential operating authorities, and
  • an outline of steps for implementation.

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Molly Armbrister covers real estate, banking and health care for the Northern Colorado Business Report. She can be reached at 970-232-3139, or

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