February 02, 2021

Congressman Joe Neguse Sends Letter to RTD Requesting Completion of Northwest Rail Line Project

Washington D.C.— Today, Congressman Joe Neguse sent a letter to the new CEO and General Manager of the Regional Transportation District (RTD)  about the completion of the Northwest Rail Line, or B Line, project. The letter asks that RTD complete this long-promised rail line from Westminster to Longmont, using the allocated taxpayer funds collected through a 2004 voter-approved tax increase for the completion of designated FasTracks projects, including the B Line.  This letter comes after recent reports that RTD is considering not completing the project and exploring other options for the region. 

“The FasTracks plan specifically names the B Line expansion as one such project to be completed using the funds raised by the tax increase (in 2004), giving RTD an obligation to use taxpayer funds for that purpose,” reads the letter from Congressman Neguse. “While many FasTracks routes have been completed and have provided increased transit options to many Coloradans, the B Line extension project, which was originally slated to be completed in 2017, still has not been extended to Boulder County while residents have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in FasTracks taxes.”

Read the full letter below: 

February 2, 2021

Debra Johnson

Chief Executive Officer, General Manager

1660 Blake Street

Denver, CO 80202

 

Dear Ms. Johnson: 

I wish to first congratulate and welcome you to your new role as CEO and General Manager at the Regional Transportation District (“RTD”). As the Representative for Colorado’s Second Congressional District, I look forward to working with you to address the needs of Coloradans.

 I write today, however, to express concerns about recent reports that RTD has been questioning the extension of the Northwest Rail Line, or B Line, from Westminster to Longmont. As you know, FasTracks is a transit plan developed and adopted by the RTD Board of Directors in 2004 which directs the use of a 2004 voter-approved tax increase to expand public transportation throughout the Denver Metro region. The FasTracks plan specifically names the B Line expansion as one such project to be completed using the funds raised by the tax increase, giving RTD an obligation to use taxpayer funds for that purpose. While many FasTracks routes have been completed and have provided increased transit options to many Coloradans, the B Line extension project, which was originally slated to be completed in 2017, still has not been extended to Boulder County while residents have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in FasTracks taxes.

Taxpayers in the Regional Transportation District have been paying this increased tax for over fifteen years, with the understanding that each of the FasTracks lines described in the 2004 FasTracks plan would be completed using those tax dollars. It is concerning to hear that this long-anticipated project now may not be completed, despite the promise RTD made to taxpayers when they approved the FasTracks plan in 2004.

I continually hear from constituents in my district about the transportation and infrastructure needs we have across the Front Range. There is a distinct need for additional public transportation across this rapidly growing region, with the completion of FasTracks projects a critical part of that.

I know that the COVID-19 pandemic has put significant financial strain on public transportation agencies such as RTD throughout the country, and that you are currently experiencing much lower ridership than usual. I understand that these financial impacts also impact your ability to complete projects in the short-term, and many have been pushed out or delayed. Despite these significant financial hurdles, the B Line expansion has been promised to taxpayers for more than fifteen years now, and it is important that this project still be completed. I hope you will consider doing so.

I look forward to hearing from you and working to increase public transportation options for Coloradans.

Sincerely,

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