Ok, read this first (unless you already read it). We have an update on the I-70 transportation study thingy. See, apparently we spent $25 million on choices for the I-70 corridor expansion. Before we did that, it was decided not to look at rail. So, in the five year $25 million dollar study, we looked at everything except rail. Know what that is? Widening the I-70 for more lanes.
Before we ever had a study, before we ever blew $25 million on said study, we knew this: we could do a light rail train, or widen the I-70 to accommodate more lanes. Before the study, someone said “no to the train”. This is because it is incredibly expensive, about a million dollars a mile. I get it, that is really expensive. So, the $25 million study looked at widening the I-70. This Spring, they announced they were close to releasing the study on widening the I-70.
Then, mountain communities (who were apparently completely unaware this was happening), said “absolutely NO to widening the I-70.” So, here is your $25 million dollar assesment:
Widen the I-70 to accomodate more lanes or (ruled out)
Build a light rail commuter train (ruled out)
ban all big rigs from the i-70 (wisely ruled out, 2014 update)
What, exactly, did we get for our $25 million? No one is quite sure. So along comes today’s story in the Denver news. Since we have officially ruled our rail and widening (oh, and the $25 million study isn’t out yet)… they are calling for us to consider the rail/commuter train option again.
So, what do we do now? We ruled out widening and so it looks like we’ll need to commision a study on commuter rail. Oh wait, we can’t. We can’t because we already spent $25 million f**king dollars to study the widening idea which no one wanted in the first place (but just told us that now)!
What angers me isn’t the dialogue at all. This is an important discussion, and I see both sides. I see why rail would be awesome (nearly pollution free and weather proof) but is impossibly expensive ($7 billion to build). Ok, good arguments. How about the widening idea? Well, that is just more pavement and more pollution. Truly not much of a long term or ecological solution at all… but WAY cheaper than the train.
I don’t even mind this process taking ten years (it took five years to get the five year study together). These are big decisions. What drives me insane is that we spent $25 million to do a mock up on widening on the I-70 (instead of just spending $25 million to actually widen the I-70).
Well, we considered rail and bus from the get go… roughly about $25 million dollars ago. Light Rail is on the table again, and with transportation costs rising rapidly, we are about a two years away from some genius deciding we should do a study re-thinking the widening idea.