Good to get the pulse

Bill Christopher, Crosscurrents
Posted

RTD has launched an outreach program which is overdue to better define what interested parties along the Northwest Rail Line want and will accept regarding public transportation modes.

The original FasTracks Plan approved by voters in 2004 called for commuter rail from Union Station to Westminster to Broomfield to Boulder to Longmont. Also, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on the full stretch of U.S. 36 from I-25 to Boulder was promised.

Due to huge cost increases, RTD wants to rethink the commuter rail service component beyond Westminster.

I might add that the BNSF Railroad is the major “villain” in the increased costs for the NW Rail Line.

LISTENING TO THE CONSTITUENTS

HNTB, a very capable engineering firm, is heading up the 13 month study to evaluate different options for the NW Rail Line/ U.S. 36 corridor.

Public input is underway with a telephone town hall “meeting” via telephone. This is a good way for RTD to document just what people will support especially if the commuter rail segments beyond Westminster go by the wayside.

The city councils in the U.S. 36 corridor as well as RTD Board members need the benefit of documented opinions from the voters before jumping to their own conclusions.

They sometimes need to remember that it is the voters who approve tax increases, bond issues and major changes to the FasTracks Plan.

BRINGING UP THE REAR

RTD has said that if a fundamentally different plan is pursued as a result of the study’s outcome, it could well require a new vote by the people.

It remains to be seen if a tax increase would be a part of the package or what the tax rate might need to be or when improvements would be completed. I

It is too soon to speculate on those elements. Regardless, it is good to “get on with it” as far as what RTD might end up providing the northwest part of the Denver metro area. We are bringing up the rear as far as the six new corridors that were promised under the FasTracks Plan some nine years ago.

DARR NEEDS TO EXPLAIN

What is with Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr?

His persistence to keep the cap on the number of municipal prisoners in the Adams County Jail is not making sense to many of us.

Not only are the various police chiefs among the Adams County cities upset, many voters including myself are fed up with it.

Darr needs to come clean on his reasons for keeping the cap in effect.

When the court sentences someone to jail and it is a concerning crime, we expect the “bad guys” to be incarcerated. If Darr is thinking about running for county commissioner next year, he might want to evaluate the situation.

CALLING A ‘TIME-OUT’

I wanted to share with you that I am taking a hiatus from writing my weekly op-ed column until after the November election. I will be keeping notes on worthwhile topics and issues to share with you starting in mid-November. I will enjoy the respite and hope you do as well.

Bill Christopher is former city manager of Westminster and used to represent District J on the RTD board of directors.

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