It’s been a decade since voters of the Denver metro region approved the Regional Transportation District’s FasTracks transit expansion program. Nov. 2 marked the anniversary of the FasTracks Yes initiative, which passed 58% to 42%.
Since then, FasTracks has struggled through an unprecedented spike in the cost of construction materials, which increased project costs, and a tough recession that reduced sales tax revenues, the agency’s main funding source. RTD says those two events have stifled progress on some projects, but agency continues to move ahead with its long-term transit goals.
“Without question, we’ve had our challenges, but by partnering with the public and private sectors, we’ve gotten creative and have most of FasTracks either completed or in construction,” said Phil Washington, RTD general manager and CEO.
A 10-year progress report on FasTracks looks like this:
Four FasTracks projects are complete:
• First components of U.S. 36 bus rapid transit—opened in 2010
• West Rail Line (W Line)— opened in 2013
• Denver Union Station Improvements—opened in 2014
• Free MetroRide along 18th and 19th streets— opened in 2014
Six FasTracks projects are currently in construction:
• East Rail Line – opens 2016
• Gold Line – opens 2016
• Northwest Rail Line to Westminster – opens 2016
• I-225 Rail Line – opens 2016
• U.S. 36 BRT service – opens 2016
• North Metro Rail Line – opens 2018
FasTracks also has:
• Injected more than $5 billion into the Denver metro economy so far
• Produced more than 13,000 direct full-time jobs
• Created transit-oriented communities around many new transit stations
• Boosted investments in the local economy: every $1 invested in transit infrastructure translates into a $4 for the local economy, RTD says.
“FasTracks is already benefiting the region, and those benefits will multiply as we continue to fulfill our promise to complete FasTracks ,” said Chuck Sisk, chair of the RTD Board of Directors. “But really it all starts and ends with the citizens, who gave us their vote of confidence in 2004 and along with so many new residents to Colorado will be the ultimate beneficiaries today, tomorrow and for years to come.”
FasTracks is RTD’s voter-approved transit expansion program to build 122 miles of commuter rail and light rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit service, add 21,000 new parking spaces, redevelop Denver Union Station and redirect bus service to better connect the eight-county district.