This weekend, the Northern Colorado Business Review reported on a $2.8 million study to evaluate the feasibility of a high speed rail project in Colorado. The official-sounding Interregional Connectivity Study is now out with a map that envisions an integrated system of high speed rail to connect Denver to Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Ft. Collins, and Vail. (Perhaps it’s been forgotten that these regions are already connected by roads?)
The estimated price tag: $15 billion. And remember that today, FasTracks is at a 57% cost overrun, it has a 0.4% sales tax surcharge with no end in sight, and its completion date could be as far out as 2042. While consultants and government workers are toiling away on their $2.8 million feasibility study, here are a few actual real life observations:
- Colorado Springs and Denver could not even find demand to sustain a heavily subsidized bus service between the two cities that cost riders less than it would to park downtown, without even considering gas, maintenance, and time. The FREX was shut down in 2012, as the economics were not even close to making this endeavor sustainable.
- Nothing is going to change that fact that Colorado simply does not have the population density to support such a project – the concept is struggling to get off the ground in the largest cities in California.
- In 2011 Transit Research published a vast amount of information about the virtual economic impossibility of high speed rail from Denver to Vail. The detailed results of their analysis is on the website InsaneSkiTrain.com.
Thankfully, this absurd study will end in September, and hopefully with that, not a penny more of taxpayers’ dollars (or those the U.S. is borrowing from China) will be dumped into this black hole. That’s looking unlikely, however, because somehow members of the ICS have somehow predicted that this project would be profitable, and that “ICS team members believe it is important to get started on the project as soon as possible.”
Coloradans should have no interest in being taken for a ride again, especially on an overpriced high speed train. Colorado taxpayers have had enough of the bait and switch that bureaucrats and central planners pull time and time again.