A proposed change to the metrowide FasTracks system that would speed delivery of commuter rail service to Longmont will require the blessing of voters in the Regional Transportation District.
Moving Longmont off the Northwest Rail Line — which includes Louisville and Boulder — and onto the Adams County-centric North Rail Line would alter the FasTracks plan voters OK'd in 2004.
But Longmont Mayor Dennis Coombs said he thinks voters in the eight county tax-collecting district will give the go-ahead, if it means Longmont and the northern suburbs get commuter rail at least within the next decade or so.
"If they are educated on the issues, I think the voters will see it will benefit them all over the system," Coombs said. "I trust the voters."
The Longmont option is just one idea that emerged this week from the Northwest Area Mobility Study. Commissioned by RTD, the 18-month study asked residents and local officials to come up with transit alternatives for the north area.
RTD called for the study after hearing withering criticism for not doing enough to get FasTracks moving up north. At one point last year, RTD officials said that without additional funding, commuter rail would not roll north of Commerce City until 2044.
RTD has since issued a Request for Proposal to finish at least a portion of the North Line through Adams County with construction starting by 2014.
Another idea that came from the mobility study calls for RTD and local planners to consider building the Northwest Rail line in phases that would include Longmont.
The line, now under construction, could extend on to Broomfield, Louisville and Longmont from its end at West 71st Avenue and Lowell Boulevard in Westminster.
The phased segments would operate on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad line but on new tracks that could serve both commuter rail and freight trains, RTD said.
A specific phase to Boulder could be considered, as well, pending further analysis, RTD said. Mostly, RTD wants to answer technical questions about the infrastructure Burlington Northern would need at any end-of-the line station.
The North Metro Rail Line is planned to end at East 162nd Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. But the mobility study will look at two routes that would put Longmont in the mix.
One mirrors a route being studied by the Colorado Department of Transportation that follows Interstate 25 north to Colorado 119 near Del Camino and then west to Longmont.
The other route follows Weld County Road 7 north to Colorado 119 and then west to Longmont.
Broomfield Mayor Pat Quinn said the mobility study is helping RTD come up with much needed and viable alternatives for the north area.
"We hope that seeing how these various options perform will help us make more informed decisions on transit solutions that can be implemented sooner rather than later," Quinn said.
Monte Whaley: 720-929-0907, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/montewhaley