Developing passenger rail that serves Front Range communities from Fort Collins to Pueblo is a critical component of Colorado’s future. Front Range Passenger Rail (FRPR) would provide a safe, efficient, and reliable transportation option for travel between major population centers and destinations along the Front Range and create a backbone for connecting and expanding rail and transit options in the state and region. The project would provide sustainable and reliable travel options to meet the state’s growing needs, supporting multiple transportation, economic, and environmental goals.

Plans for a comprehensive passenger rail system serving the Front Range have been under consideration for more than a decade. In 2017, the Southwest Chief and Front Range Passenger Rail Commission (Rail Commission) was established and tasked with facilitating the development and operation of a passenger rail service along the Front Range. In 2018, the Colorado General Assembly provided funding for the Rail Commission to hire staff and retain a consultant team to lead this task. The Rail Commission worked with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to advance the Front Range Passenger Rail project.

The Front Range Passenger Rail District bill, Senate Bill 21-238, was signed by Governor Polis in June 2021. The bill established a new, independent authority to oversee the development and future operation of the Front Range Passenger Rail Service. In addition, this bill established a new Board of Directors and district boundaries, provided the District with the ability to levy a sales and use tax upon voter approval, and established specific benchmarks, milestones, and audits to ensure project success.

The new District is authorized to plan, design, develop, finance, construct, operate and maintain an interconnected passenger rail system along the Front Range extending ultimately from Wyoming to New Mexico. The new District would work collaboratively with RTD in the Denver region and with Amtrak, BNSF Railway, and Union Pacific to provide interconnected and coordinated services. The purpose of the District is to provide fast, convenient passenger service to major cities along the I-25 corridor from Fort Collins, Loveland, Lakewood, Boulder, and Denver in the north to Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo to the south. Denver Union Station would be the key hub for these new services.

The rail passenger services would provide a safe, efficient alternative for drivers on I-25 to meet the growing demand for added Front Range mobility using existing freight rail corridors. It would provide a convenient option for Denver residents and workers to reach key points along the Front Range without driving. With new Federal funding anticipated for Amtrak expansion, the District would position the State to secure Federal funding and provide matching funds toward early implementation of rail services.

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