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Rural Colorado community calls for equity with commuter train from Fort Collins to Pueblo

Rural community calls for equity with train from Fort Collins to Pueblo
Rural community calls for equity with train from Fort Collins to Pueblo 02:37

The State of Colorado is moving forward with plans to create a commuter rail service from the Wyoming border to the New Mexico border, but some rural community leaders say the service may not be equitable to their residents.

The Front Range Passenger Rail District is in the planning process for a train that supporters say will provide quick and reliable train access to those looking to travel between major Colorado cities like Fort Collins, Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

However, some elected leaders in the town of Berthoud tell CBS News Colorado's Dillon Thomas they feel the service doesn't benefit those in smaller communities that the train would pass through.

"Berthoud is one of the fastest growing towns in the Front Range," said Berthoud Trustee Sean Murphy.

RELATED: The potential of a Colorado Front Range passenger rail line gets a boost

Murphy said he's asking the Front Range Passenger Rail District to consider adding stops in rural towns like Berthoud, a community between Loveland and Longmont.

"It really matters to small communities like ours," Murphy said. "It's important that our voice is heard."

Berthoud Trustee Sean Murphy   CBS

Murphy said his community would most likely see increased traffic on the railroads that run through their community. He also said the residents would be paying increased taxes to help create the service, but would have to travel by car to other neighboring cities just to catch the train that goes through their neighborhood.

Murphy said he would like the train to make a stop in his town, even if the town has to pay to build a station.

"It does not seem smaller communities, rural areas and county areas will be served in any way shape or form by this rail district, that we will be paying taxes for without seeing any kind of station or service," Murphy said.

A spokesperson for the rail district said they are working with the state, CDOT, Federal Railroad Administration and more to assure this commuter rail service will be efficient and useful. However, she noted that adding stops in every rural town would make the service more like a passenger rail line than a commuter rail line.

"Passenger rail is not commuter rail, and what the alderman wants is a station along a commuter rail line. Intercity passenger rail provides faster service with fewer stops. The stops are at larger cities or markets that can provide more connections to transit and transportation services," the spokesperson shared.

The district said they are willing to work with those like RTD in the future to try and add services along the front range that would stop in more communities. However, the spokesperson said that would come after the faster commuter service was developed and implemented in the larger communities.

Berthoud CBS

Murphy admitted adding a stop in towns like Berthoud would slow the service. However, he suggested that there be different services people can choose based on the time they board. Murphy suggested two trains that can run the same route, with one that has more frequent stops in smaller towns while the other bypasses them for the sake of time.

With northern Colorado expected to double in population in the next 25 years, Murphy said adding stops in Berthoud could help his community access jobs in neighboring communities while also potentially leading to economic growth in the town.

"It's more important to provide equitable service to all the communities that are paying into this district," Murphy said.

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