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4/26/2012



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Denver's RTD board decides against FasTracks ballot initiative in 2012


On Tuesday, the Regional Transportation District of Denver (RTD) board voted to not pursue a November ballot initiative that would have asked voters to approve a tax increase to have helped speed up construction of the agency’s FasTracks program.

The board directed staff to submit a revised plan with “alternate assumptions,” RTD officials said in a prepared statement.

“The RTD board realizes that while economic conditions are slowly but steadily improving in the Denver metro area, the timing is not right for a 2012 ballot initiative,” said RTD Chairman Lee Kemp. “We remain committed to continuing to work with our regional partners to complete FasTracks sooner rather than later. Signs of progress will continue to take shape around the region.”

During the past several months, the board has been evaluating technical, financial and economic information as well as public input on whether to pursue a tax increase to help cover the project’s growing cost.

RTD officials will continue to seek alternative funding sources for FasTracks, including grants, public-private partnerships and unsolicited proposals, they said. A ballot initiative that would allow a sales and use tax will be considered in the future, they said.

FasTracks is RTD’s voter-approved transit program to expand rail and bus service throughout the RTD service area. FasTracks calls for building 122 miles of commuter and light rail and 18 miles of bus rapid transit service, adding 21,000 parking spaces, redeveloping Denver Union Station and redirecting bus service to better connect the eight-county district. The FasTracks investment initiative is projected to create thousands of construction-related jobs during the height of construction.



 


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