Gary Hodges for Longmont City Council, Ward 3

RTD’s Northwest FasTracks line is a fantasy

Photo credit: David Evans and Associates, Inc.
Beginning today let’s do what is required to free us from the FasTracks tax

We have paid well over $60,000,000 since the 0.4% FasTracks tax was implemented almost 20 years ago! It’s time to accept the reality that rail will never extend to Longmont. Those who are still demanding a train are desperately clinging to the false promises of the past. We are a modest city at the end of a very expensive proposed line. Ridership numbers will never justify the immense cost to bring commuter rail to Longmont, leaving RTD to conclude the resources to do so are not warranted.

Beginning today let’s do what is required to free us from the FasTracks tax for a train that is never coming, and instead focus on expanding regional bus transportation.

The immediate benefits for Longmont and RTD will make this agreeable to both. Foregoing our pursuit of rail will lift a mammoth burden from RTD’s shoulders. After nearly two decades of continually pretending service will extend to our city, it will be a huge relief for the organization to end the charade. Some in Longmont will protest about the money we have contributed to FasTracks, but those taxes paid are a sunk cost. The sad truth is we are never going to claw this money back, and we should instead only focus on the future so that rational decisions can be made.

We will not walk away empty handed though. Freeing RTD from the weight of this obligation will allow the city to negotiate from a position of strength. Increased regional headways, a return of specialty routes to Denver for sporting events, and a direct airport run will all be on the negotiating table.

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