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Rail proposed Casper to Albuquerque

(The Associated Press circulated the following article on November 30.)

DENVER -- Front Range Commuter Rail, a non-profit group, wants to study the possibility of creating high-speed rail lines running from Casper, WY, through Denver to Albuquergue, NM.

At a total cost much cheaper than the proposed Super Slab concrete roadway, the high-speed trains would run on existing railroad rights-of-way.

The group says the study will cost about $4.4 million. It will examine existing rail lines, the cost of improvements and the cost of relocating existing coal and freight train traffic.

Front Range Commuter Rail wants to collect money from Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico to pay for about half the cost of the study in order then to be eligible for matching money from the federal government.

Randy Bruns, chief executive officer of Cheyenne LEADS, said Wyoming would be crazy not to participate in the study.

"This is not pie in the sky," Bruns said. "Somebody could be physically running passenger service to Denver tomorrow."

Completion of the high-speed rail project is set for the year 2016. It's intended to meet the transportation needs of the rapidly growing Rocky Mountain region.

"You just can't build lanes of highway fast enough to alleviate congestion," said Bob Jensen, CEO of the Wyoming Business Council.

The study must be completed before Congress could designate the Casper to Albuquerque line as a high-speed corridor.

Congressional designation of the high-speed corridor would allow the rail project to seek federal money. There are already 10 such designated corridors in the country.

Friday, December 1, 2006

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