Wednesday, February 11, 2009

R2C2 Public Benefits And Cost Study Results

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) released the results of a Rail Relocation for Colorado Communities (R2C2) study on Tuesday, February 10th. The Public Benefits and Cost Study examined the cost and benefits of building a bypass routing through freight trains along the eastern plains of Colorado away from the Front Range cities of Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Denver and Ft. Collins. Such a move would leave local freight service to the cities intact while freeing up capacity for some type of commuter rail service.

The study concluded that while the project may cost between $1.0 and $1.5 Billion, the direct and indirect benefits would work out to between $2.4 and $16.3 Billion. The most likely scenario approximates the cost to be $1.2 Billion and the benefits to be $5.2 Billion, a benefits to cost ratio of 4.3 : 1. $3.8 Billion of those benefits would go to the public. While this isn't stellar, the jobs this project would create would have a positive impact on Colorado's economy, which is facing a major recession at best.

Union Pacific and BNSF, the state's competing Class I railroads, would partner with CDOT to build the new rail route, connecting Brush with Las Animas over 220 route miles. No official route has been announced. That will likely come after the RMRA issues its report on I-70 & I-25 high speed rail options.

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