The goal of RTD’s Northwest Area Mobility Study (NAMS) was to determine transit priorities for the Northwest corridor, taking into consideration that conditions have changed since voters passed the FasTracks initiative in 2004. The results show that bus rapid transit (BRT) is a more realistic alternative to rail. Analysis indicates that by 2035 the rail corridor would see between 9,300 – 10,800 riders per day with a capital cost between $1,156 and $1,413 million dollars. BRT ridership would be much higher, around 27,800 riders per day for a much lower capital cost of approximately $304 million.
In spite of this data, two municipalities, Westminster and Louisville remain convinced that rail is the only transit solution. Other jurisdictions are more flexible, recognizing that to insist on rail for the Northwest Corridor could mean this line takes decades to build or is never completed at all.
There is an important deadline to consider. This May RTD will decide on priorities for the corridor based on the NAMS. The private sector members of the 36 Commuting Solutions Board of Directors http://36commutingsolutions.org are working to convince elected officials within the Board and the Metro Mayors Caucus to pursue BRT and an innovative plan for bi-directional lanes on I-25 rather than holding out for rail. Their perspective is that practical solutions are needed now to avoid gridlock in future that would impact our future economic development.
Of course, even funding for BRT would require additional revenue beyond FasTracks dollars. The private sector members of 36 Commuting Solution’s Board argue that the sooner the corridor reaches consensus on a course of action, the sooner the search for additional revenues can begin.