House bill includes money RTD urgently needs for track upgrades

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
Denver RTD
Denver’s RTD could receive some federal funding that is badly needed for track maintenance.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted July 1 to approve a massive infrastructure bill that includes, among other things, nearly $20 million for three critical transportation projects in the downtown Denver area.

The legislation, known as the INVEST in America Act, will provide the Colorado Department of Transportation, Denver Department of Transportation, and Denver’s Regional Transportation District a combined $20 million to help realign I-25, make necessary improvements to Denver’s light rail and revitalize the 16th Street Mall.

Funding for all three Denver-area projects was included in the broader bill at the request of U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), who requested the funding to help improve the safety of Denver’s transportation network.

“Getting these important projects funded is a big win for our area,” DeGette said. “These projects are designed to make our downtown safer and more enjoyable for everyone who lives, works or visits here. Not only will they help make our community more accessible, it will also make it more welcoming and strengthen our foundation to grow even more.”

Specifically, the legislation will provide:

$5,530,000 to the Colorado Department of Transportation to consolidate rail tracks away from I-25 to allow for the planned realignment of the interstate to make it safer and more accessible; 

$6,530,000 to the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to revitalize the 16th Street Mall from Broadway to Market Street. The project seeks to create a safer, more welcoming space in the heart of Denver’s downtown and is designed to improve the safety of both pedestrians and vehicles in the area; and

$7,930,000 to RTD to replace miles of decades-old light-rail track, switches, and concrete flatwork throughout Denver’s light-rail system, repairs RTD said are urgently needed to ensure the safety and reliability of the city’s light rail system.

DeGette requested funding for the three projects in April under the House of Representatives’ new rules that allows each member of Congress to request funding for specific projects in their district.

The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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