A group commissioned by the Colorado Department of Transportation recently unveiled their proposal for a Front Range passenger rail service that could someday run from Cheyenne to Trinidad.

CDOT created the Southwest Chief & Front Range Rail Commission in 2017 to research the project, which is estimated to cost Colorado taxpayers around $15 billion. Although he doesn't have a vote in the out-of-state commission, Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Dale Steenbergen is a member of the committee. Cheyenne Mayor Marion Orr and Laramie County Commissioner Linda Heath have also met with the rail commission to discuss plans to extend the line to Cheyenne.

The initial map calls for construction of a passenger rail line with connections in Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, Boulder, Denver, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo, with interregional bus service running from Fort Collins to Greeley and Cheyenne, and an additional train connection running east from Colorado Springs to La Junta and Lamar, and south from Pueblo to Walsenburg and Trinidad.

"Through just 2040 we are going to add 1.3 million more people to this region and over 500,000 additional jobs," Southwest Chief & Front Range Rail Commission Vice President Jacob Riger told 9 News. “That puts increasing pressure on our transportation system. We all know there’s not enough funding today to keep up with what we already have in terms of challenges and issues.”

Riger cited a recent survey that showed support for the passenger rail service in Colorado and says an initiative to fund the project could be on the ballot in the 2020 election.