Denver, Colorado/Southwest Corridor LRT
Southwest Corridor LRT
The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is implementing an 8.7-mile light rail transit (LRT) extension from the I-25/Broadway interchange in Denver parallel to Santa Fe Drive to Mineral Avenue in Littleton. The LRT line will operate over an exclusive, grade-separated right-of-way and connect with the existing 5.3-mile Central Corridor light rail line, which was constructed entirely with local funds and opened in October 1994. The new line will feature five stations.
The capital cost of the project is $176.32 million (escalated dollars). This estimate includes local costs already incurred by RTD for right-of way acquisition, a portion of an existing LRT maintenance and storage facility, transit improvements along the Southwest corridor, and preliminary engineering, as well as new costs for final design, construction, and the acquisition of 14 light rail vehicles. The project is estimated to carry 8,400 passengers per day in 2000 (opening year) and 22,000 passengers per day in 2015.
FTA issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the project in February 1996. A Record of Decision was signed in March 1996. RTD and FTA entered into a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) in May 1996, which committed $120 million in Section 5309 New Starts funding.
TEA-21 Section 3030(a)(24) authorized the Denver Southwest LRT for final design and construction. Through FY 2001, Congress has appropriated $118.51 million in Section 5309 New Starts funds. An additional $1.34 million was provided in FY 1997 from reprogrammed funds for a total of $119.80 million made available to the project.
Revenue operations commenced in July 2000. Ridership has exceeded the forecast, resulting in 30,000 average weekday boardings systemwide. Of the 30,000 passenger boardings per day, approximately 12,000 are daily new riders. Construction is in the closeout phase.