Vision Becomes Denver: RTD FasTracks Continuing Success

By: Skylar Colclazier

It’s a story of growth and progress. It’s a story of vision. Two decades ago, Denver International Airport and Coors Field were built while the Stapleton Redevelopment project began. One decade ago, residents of the Denver Metro Area voted for the Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) FastTracks transit expansion program, one of the biggest transit expansion programs nationally.

Denver officials and residents recognized Denver’s potential. They envisioned Denver would one day be a thriving epicenter of commerce and development and they took action. According to RTD, the multi-billion dollar FasTracks project includes 18 miles of bus rapid transit service, 122 miles of new commuter rail and light rail, 31 new Park-n-Rides and 57 new transit stations, and redirect bus services.

The vision of growth and consequent action taken has put Denver on the map both nationally and internationally. Our region is one of collaboration. Instrumental to FasTracks’ success has been RTD’s Phil Washington.

Washington, the RTD General Manager, has been credited with ensuring continuous movement of the program. The FasTracks program has encountered roadblocks, but has persevered.  Whether it is the rising cost of construction materials or the debilitating recession, FasTracks has kept momentum under the leadership of Phil Washington who recently decided to leave Colorado RTD. He leaves the FasTracks project construction positioned for success.

Denver benefits from various completed transit projects: the light rail service between Golden and Denver Union Station, the Free MetroRide, the W line, and a new modern bus service that travels a loop between Union Station and Civic Center Station. Additionally, elements of the U.S. 36 Bus Rapid Transit project have been completed.

Denver businesses and residents look forward to a bright future. We’ve seen an injection of $5 billion from FasTracks into Denver’s economy and it’s created over 13,000 jobs (DBJ, 2015).

What’s next for Denver’s FasTracks program? Stapleton’s Central Park Station is part of the story and that chapter is only beginning.

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