The Longmont City Council discussed the latest studies regarding FasTracks and the proposed Northwest rail line — and were disappointed with what they learned. By a 6-0 vote (Gabe Santos was absent), the Council asked its legal staff to study whether Longmont can put its FasTracks sales tax funds into an escrow account until it gets the train service promised by the Regional Transportation District.
A consultant team released an update to the RTD Board and Northwest Area Mobility Study PAC recently that showed no projected funding from the FasTracks portion (0.4 percent) of the 1.0-percent sales tax before 2040. RTD says it has commitments to the other FasTracks corridors, base system operations and maintenance.
Sarah Levison cautioned the Council against harming the partnership of elected officials that is pushing for bus rapid transit (BRT) as an interim solution for the Colo. 119 corridor. However, in the end she voted to support the decision to investigate escrowing Longmont’s FasTracks revenue too. The Council’s decision is understandable but it seems unlikely that the escrow idea is legal.
Note: The Council was also supposed to discuss a position regarding the possible conversion of the third lane on I-25 in each direction from SH-7 to SH-66. The original proposal to expand this portion of I-25 included tolling the third late but at the time, CDOT constructed the additional lanes without tolls or restrictions. CDOT is now requesting that the original plan be implemented by a yet-to-be determined third party concessionaire to manage the third lane in each direction. There is no money to expand I-25 and this scenario is touted by CDOT as the only solution (see more, below). More information the Council’s thoughts on this project will be reported later as the video from the meeting is not available yet.