September 8 2009, 11:20 AM
The Federal Railroad Administration has already identified 10 high-speed rail corridors throughout the United States, and that means the feds are planning to spend tens of billions of dollars on projects on the East and West coasts. But in the mountainous West, including Denver, it's possible that not one of those trains would pass through. Still, Colorado officials have caught the rail bug and are joining with New Mexico and Texas to seek federal backing for an 11th high-speed rail line that would connect Denver to El Paso, reports The Denver Post. On September 16, the Denver Regional Council of Governments' board of directors could make it official by voting on a proposal to contribute $60,000 to join the Western High Speed Rail Alliance with transit planners from metro areas in states interested in the idea of linking Albuquerque, Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Reno, Salt Lake City, and Denver. Meanwhile, another group---the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority---estimates rail lines along the I-70 corridor, from Denver into ski country, and along I-25, from Fort Collins to Pueblo---would cost about $20 billion. As the Summit Daily News summarizes, "As always, the biggest question mark is finding the money, but the rail authority board makes the case that the rail lines would enhance Colorado's overall transportation network at a time of rising oil prices and growing congestion."