Today the Regional Transportation District of Denver is opening its West Rail Line, 12.1 miles of light
rail running between Denver's redeveloped Union Station and Golden's Jefferson County Government Station.
The new line features 11 new stations, six Park-n-Rides, and three new Call-n-Rides. What exactly does that mean for Denver-area residents? It means opportunity. It means that DOT support for this public transit project will have helped millions of families, seniors, veterans, students, and others gain access to the jobs, education, and services they need.
The line's new stations include stops near employment hubs like Denver Federal Center and Jefferson County Government Center as well as the Auraria Higher Education Campus and Red Rocks Community college, which together serve more than 50,000 students. In addition, St. Anthony’s Hospital recently relocated, allowing medical professionals and patients to take advantage of the new line's convenience.
And, it's just the beginning. The West Rail Line is only the first completed line of RTD's ambitious FasTracks project. FasTracks is a comprehensive transit expansion plan to build 122 miles of new commuter rail and light rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit, 21,000 new parking spaces and bike amenities at light rail and bus stations, and enhanced bus service for easy bus-to-rail connections. The project will extend across eight different Colorado counties.
After all, the Denver area is currently home to 2.8 million people, and that number is expected to grow to 4.2 million by 2035. Area residents know that improvements in transportation infrastructure are critical to maintaining the quality of life that attracts so many to this area.
And, as we've learned in communities across the country, new stations attract the tremendous economic development power of private investment.
In the short term, the benefits are also valuable. At the height of construction, FasTracks is expected to create more than 10,000 construction related jobs. According to RTD, every $1 invested translates into $6 added to the local economy.
That makes FasTracks a win for future transit riders, a win for the environment, a win for economic growth, and a win for employment.
That's why the Obama Administration has been working so hard to bring good transportation projects like this one to Denver and to cities across the nation. And that's why we'll continue doing just that.