Further information: RTD FasTracks Northwest Rail

John Fryar, Daily Times-Call, Longmont, Colo.
·3 min read

Mar. 7—Further Information about FasTracks and the Northwest Rail project

Referendum 4A: The Regional Transportation District's November 2004 election FasTracks ballot question for voters in the metropolitan region transit agency's voters, asked:

"Shall regional transportation district taxes be increased (first full fiscal year dollarincrease) annually and by whatever additional amounts are raised annually thereafterby increasing the rate of sales tax levied by the district by four-tenths of one percent,from the current six-tenths of one percent to one percent commencing January 1 (firstcalendar year that commences after the election at which the ballot question issubmitted), and, in connection therewith, shall regional transportation district debt beincreased (principal amount), with a repayment cost of (maximum total district cost) withall proceeds of debt and taxes to be used and spent for the construction and operationof a fixed guide way mass transit system, the construction of additional park-n-ride lots,the expansion and improvement of existing park-n-ride lots, and increased bus service,including the use of smaller buses and vans and alternative fuel vehicles asappropriate, as specified in the transit expansion plan adopted by the board of directorsof the district on or before (specified date) and shall debt be evidenced by bonds, notes,or other multiple-fiscal year obligations including refunding bonds that may be issued asa lower or higher rate of interest and including debt that may have a redemption prior tomaturity with or without payment of a premium, payable from all revenues generated bysaid tax increase, federal funds, investment income, public and private contributions,and other revenues as the board may determine, and with such revenues raised by thesales tax rate increase and the proceeds of debt obligations and any investment incomeon such revenues and proceeds being exempt from the revenue and spendingrestrictions contained in section 20 of article X of the Colorado constitution until suchtime as all debt is repaid when the rate of tax will be decreased to that amountnecessary for the continued operation of the system but not less than six-tenths of onepercent?"

RTD's 2004 referendum won approval from 58% of the people in its eight-county district who voted in that election, according to Pauletta Tonilas, the transit agency's assistant general manager for communications. In Boulder County, 64% of the people voting on that item on that ballot item said "yes," and 36% said "no," according to the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder's Office.

Tonilas said in a Friday interview the Westminster-to-Longmont Northwest Rail line originally was projected in 2004 to cost about $565 million and be completed by 2015, but due to a variety of financial situations, unforeseen expenses and reduced revenues in the years since passage of the ballot question, that stretch of the passenger line now is expected to cost $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion and not be completed until about 2050 or thereafter.

The RTD board and staff discussed the history and current status of the Northwest Rail project during a special Feb. 9 study session. People can watch the video of that study session at youtube.com/watch?v=GQGhSWz5kz4.

Longmont's Transportation Advisory Board's 6 p.m. Monday, March 8, meeting is to include an RTD staff presentation of the regional transit agency's annual report to Longmont. People wishing to provide comments prior to the meeting can send them to tyler.stamey@longmontcolorado.gov. Additional information will be provided on the Transportation Advisory Board webpage tinyurl.com/axvznjd8 regarding public comment during the meeting itself. The agenda for Monday night's Transportation Advisory Review Committee meeting can be viewed at tinyurl.com/rej9yek. People can join the livestream of the meeting by phone by calling 1-415-655-0003. The access code is 1338714536.