By Dennis Polhill
By using the power of the market to help the T-REX project, congestion-free, free-flow traffic travel can be made available to both carpoolers and single occupant drivers. Further, $600 million can be pocketed by the state. By contrast, a decision to forego over a half billion dollars of desperately-needed transportation revenues will doom travelers to sit again in traffic congestion in the not-too-distant future.
T-REX, the transportation improvement to I-25 through the Denver Technological Center, is due to be completed in 2006 and will provide the long overdue capacity enhancement to the corridor.
Before T-REX, three traffic lanes in each direction served the area. The project is currently estimated at $1.7 billion(1), with the construction cost split roughly equally(2) between adding one traffic lane and light rail in each direction. T-REX will improve 19.7 miles of corridor.
The two transportation modes were implicitly joined by the November 1999 election. Voters authorized light rail construction contingent upon the Regional Transportation District’s promise that the Federal government would cover at least 60 percent of the rail cost.
1 “TREX Budget Tops $1.7 Billion,” by Kevin Flynn, Rocky Mountain News, April 21, 2003.
2 “RTD estimates that the total cost of the rail project will be about $874 million.” Quoted directly from the 1999 voter guide, as written by RTD.