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Some backers of intercity passenger rail in Colorado think that instead of a $21 billion high-speed system along the I-70 and I-25 corridors a slower-speed test rail line using existing tracks should first be built in the mountains.
Even as passenger rail proponents and opponents in Colorado pick over the details of a high-speed rail feasibility study (pdf) released this week, criticism continues to swirl around the Obama administration’s $8 billion in stimulus funds meant to kick-start the nation’s languishing passenger rail network.
The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics were essentially two winter Olympics - the Vancouver and Whistler Games – separated by a mere 70 miles and an unnecessarily difficult mass transit mess that took more than three hours to navigate. The Colorado equivalent would be to shut down Interstate 70 between Denver and the mountain resorts of Summit and Eagle County and invite the world to come enjoy a grueling three-hour bus ride. That's simply an unacceptable scenario if Denver wants to seriously consider hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.
High-speed passenger rail service on dedicated tracks along the Interstate 25 and Interstate 70 corridors will cost $22 billion and likely require up to 50-percent funding by Colorado taxpayers, a Rocky Mountain Rail Authority (RMRA) spokesman said this week.