Trains For America

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Colorado breakup

Here’s one I found on the daily research trek through the cyber-wilderness. It’s about the efforts to bring high speed rail to Colorado. A similar effort was soundly defeated some years ago, but circumstances have substantially changed. High speed train technology is booming worldwide.

As often is the case, this seems to be an issue of personalities. The long-time most visible proponent of improved transportation seems to have gotten himself some scrutiny because of wearing two hats.

Bob Briggs, the man whose spent the past few years raising support and money for a statewide, high-speed, passenger rail system along the I-25 and I-70 corridors, was fired earlier this month from the group he started.

In 2005, the nonprofit Briggs created to promote rail, now called the Colorado Rail Association, secured $1.25 million from Referendum C funds to conduct a feasibility study for rail in the mountain corridors. In order to receive the money, CDOT required that an intergovernmental agreement be created, and so the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority – a government entity with a membership of about twenty counties and municipalities – was founded to receive the funds and lead the study. Briggs acted as the group’s director from its inception, and in June was formally made executive director by the board. But then on July 6, the board voted to terminate his contract.

If it is to be credible, the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority will have to produce a professional feasibility report. Otherwise, the project is dead and the public is stuck in an eternal gridlock.

I don’t know Bob Biggs, so this is s sheer total guess, but I would imagine that he knows a lot about trains and has a lot of sound opinions. He is probably better suited to lobbying and public education. He coulc become a tremendous asset or a vocal antagonist.

The rest of us out in congested America are hoping for an amicable divorce.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Politics

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