Wednesday, September 2, 2009

B Is For Billion

Now that it's hit the AP wires...

Colorado's future, if a future can be bought, will cost $21 Billion. That is the combined price of linking Denver with Vail and Ft. Collins with Pueblo by high-speed rail, according to the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority. Anyone with experience with Colorado's challenging topography and a hint of engineering sense knows that the prospect of pushing rails through the Rockies, not around them, is an expensive prospect. That it would cost billions of dollars was never in doubt, but the exact number of billions was not known until now. Some might say it's still not known, given that the project has not finished, let alone begun.

The Routes Studied

The merits of the RMRA's report on the feasibility of either link will be subject to the bluster of Nimbys, frustrated commuters, and paid consultants by the Prius- or Suburban-full. The probability of the Front Range line at up to 140 m.p.h. is much more likely than a line at 60 m.p.h. that would shave time off I-70, whether or not it is choked with traffic. It may even prove a good primer for Colorado's east-west venture. Billion, no matter the number, is something many people balk at, no matter the promise of Federal funding. CDOT needs to get moving.

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