Valley rail project to get fed money
The Roaring Fork Railroad Holding Authority is slated to receive $1 million from the federal government next year, ensuring the concept of commuter rail between Glenwood Springs and Aspen moves out of the study process and into the preliminary design process.
U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell announced yesterday that a joint House-Senate committee has approved more than $51 million for transportation projects in Colorado, including the $1 million for the “Roaring Fork Valley Rail Project.”
“We were hoping for $2 million, and I understand that we were penciled in for that much in the House,” said holding authority director Tom Newland. “But it was like last year – the House wrote us in at $2 million and the joint conference committee settled on $1 million.”
Newland said the federal appropriation would be spent exclusively on studies and preparation for the preliminary engineering process. The holding authority’s overall budget, including the federal money, is expected to run about $1.3 million next year. The $300,000 will come from local governments and pay for the organization’s operating expenses, Newland said.
The preliminary environmental impact statement on a proposal to build a commuter rail line from Glenwood Springs to Aspen, using the historic railroad right-of-way that snakes up the valley to Aspen, remains under review at the Federal Transit Authority and the Federal Highway Administration, Newland said. Hearings on the final environmental impact statement have been tentatively scheduled for early next year.
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