The Regional Transportation District FasTracks program celebrated numerous milestones throughout the past year. Here are the top 10 FasTracks milestones in 2011.
1. $1.03-Billion Grant – U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood and Federal Transit Administration Administrator Peter Rogoff awarded RTD a $1.03-billion Full Funding Grant Agreement for the East Rail Line to Denver International Airport and the Gold Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge. It is the largest transit grant awarded by the Obama Administration to date.
2. Gold Line Groundbreaking – RTD celebrated the groundbreaking for the Gold Line in historic Olde Town Arvada. The event also included a community street fair hosted by the city of Arvada.
3. West Line/Denver Union Station Construction – Construction continued full-speed ahead with the West Rail Line project reaching 85% completion, and the Denver Union Station project reaching 45% completion.
4. Construction-Ready Plan – The RTD Board of Directors approved a plan to move forward with $305 million in remaining funds on the projects either not yet in construction or under contract. The funding is divided among the North Metro Line; the I-225 Line; the U.S. 36 Bus Rapid Transit Project; the Northwest Rail Project; and the extensions of the Southeast, Southwest and Central Corridor Extensions to make meaningful progress on each project with available funds.
5. Industry Forum – RTD hosted its first Transformation Through Transportation (T3) industry forum, which attracted more than 200 industry leaders from around the country to consider innovative solutions to RTD’s current challenges and opportunities.
6. Opened the First FasTracks Rail Stations –RTD opened the new Auraria West Station and the relocated light rail station at Denver Union Station.
7. Arrival of Final Light Rail Vehicle – RTD received the final light rail vehicle for the FasTracks program. The vehicle was the final of 55 vehicles ordered for RTD’s expanded light rail service through the future opening of the West Rail Line, I-225 Rail Line and the extensions of the Southwest and Southeast Rail Lines.
8. Commuter Rail Train Model on Display – Displayed a model of the new RTD commuter rail car at Denver Union Station and Olde Town Arvada. The model attracted more than 10,000 visitors.
9. Determined Renovated Re-use for Denver Union Station – A competitive proposal process attracted two solid proposals for the re-use of historic Denver Union Station. Union Station Alliance will move into negotiations with RTD on developing the inside of the building as a boutique hotel with retail and restaurant elements.
10. Telephone Town Halls – RTD held a total of 15 Telephone Town Halls – one in each director’s district – reaching out to more than 400,000 residents throughout the region. A total of 74,000 residents listened in or asked questions over the course of the series.
RTD anticipates a number of major accomplishments for 2012, including construction kick-off of a short segment of the Northwest rail line, the U.S. 36 BRT project, and starter segments of the North Metro rail line and I-225 rail line.