Just days after it was reported that Denver International Airport was planning to construct a rail station, dreams of turning the Front Range into a rail haven are turning into a nightmare. As outgoing Regional Transportation District General Manager Cal Marsella tells The Denver Post of the extensive FasTracks plan–first approved by voters in 2004–that the price of steel, copper, concrete, and other construction necessities have skyrocketed.
Add the recession, which has put a hole in the sales-tax bucket, and critics like Jon Caldara, of the libertarian-leaning Independence Institute, are smugly in I-told-you-so territory.
“These guys knew there was no way they could get this done. It was a way to get the community pregnant and then put a gun to our heads,” Caldara says.
An analysis by the Post found the $7 billion project faces numerous challenges that could delay the promised 12-year build-out by decades. For example, rather than err on the conservative side when it came to projecting sales-tax revenues, RTD used “relatively aggressive projections.”
Columnist Noel Black, meanwhile, has faith in rail, writing that Colorado Springs should learn from other cities around the nation and get a line running to Denver (via the Colorado Springs Gazette).