Economy & Economic Development  January 10, 2008

RTD nixes move to Fort Lupton

FORT LUPTON — The Regional Transportation District’s Fastracks plan to help Union Pacific railroad relocate its 36th Street switching yard from Denver to Fort Lupton is on hold and possibly dead because of its price tag, an RTD spokeswoman said Thursday.

Pauletta Tonilas said the cost to RTD in assisting with the relocation was “just way beyond our budget.”

“The overall price on all the properties (being sought by RTD) is not affordable and one of those bigger pieces was the relocation of the 36th Street yard,” she said, but would not reveal actual dollar amounts.

RTD had hoped to help UP relocate its switching yard to Fort Lupton so it could build a commuter-rail maintenance facility for Fastracks on the 36th Street site.

UP and Fastracks had been negotiating on the property and part of the deal was for Fastracks to help UP relocate to a location of its choice. UP had chosen a 640-acre site near Fort Lupton, east of U.S. Highway 85 in south Weld County. UP had reportedly proposed investing up to $200 million of its own money in the relocation.

While RTD’s Tonilas said “the door is still open” to a possible deal to help relocate the switching yard, UP spokesman Mark Davis said the railroad now considers the relocation to Fort Lupton a dead issue.

“The yard relocation (to Fort Lupton) is dead because (RTD) thought it was too expensive,” he said. “Union Pacific will continue to work with the RTD on a case-by-case basis on future projects related to Fastracks where there is mutuality of interests, and where Union Pacific’s operations are not compromised.”

Davis said UP is fine with leaving its switching yard in Denver.

“Our facility there is not at capacity and we’re happy with the location we’re at,” he said.

The proposal to relocate the UP operation to Fort Lupton was expected to bring about 400 jobs and nearly $4 billion in annual economic benefits to the Fort Lupton-Brighton area, according to a study by Research Development Partners.

Claud Hanes, Fort Lupton’s interim city administrator, said the city was being philosophical about the situation.

“RTD made their decision, and we really don’t have any emotion up, down or whatever, because nothing had come to the city at this point anyway,” he said. “That’s really all we know.” Fastracks is a 12-year program approved by voters in the seven-county Denver metro area aimed at expanding rail and bus service. The program would redevelop Denver’s Union Station and create six new commuter-rail and light-rail corridors and extend three others.

FORT LUPTON — The Regional Transportation District’s Fastracks plan to help Union Pacific railroad relocate its 36th Street switching yard from Denver to Fort Lupton is on hold and possibly dead because of its price tag, an RTD spokeswoman said Thursday.

Pauletta Tonilas said the cost to RTD in assisting with the relocation was “just way beyond our budget.”

“The overall price on all the properties (being sought by RTD) is not affordable and one of those bigger pieces was the relocation of the 36th Street yard,” she said, but would not reveal actual dollar amounts.

RTD had hoped to help UP relocate…

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