Passenger rail in Colorado needs your help

March 25, 2015


Colorado State Legislative Director Carl Smith asks that all members from the state call or email key legislators to pass the bill funding Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

“A bill to save the Southwest Chief will be heading to the Colorado Legislature’s Senate Appropriations Committee very soon. We need you to contact key legislators today to help save Amtrak service in Colorado,” Smith said.

“As you may know, SMART Transportation Division and our partners have been working over the past several years to save passenger rail in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico. After a lot of hard work, we now have a bill that gets the fight to preserve Amtrak’s Southwest Chief over the line in Colorado. State Sens. Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) and Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa) have introduced Senate Bill 176, a bill that will fund the remaining portion of Colorado’s share of capital costs to save Amtrak for Colorado’s passengers. The bill was endorsed by the Transportation Committee last month, but now it needs to pass the Senate Appropriations Committee before it can reach the full State Senate.

“Your voice will make the difference! Following negotiations, advocates for rail service have managed to cut Colorado’s total share of costs to rehabilitate the Southwest Chief’s tracks from $40 million to $8.9 million. This is a huge victory for passengers, and it only happened because of the federal grant that Southeastern Colorado communities successfully applied for in 2014 in collaboration with Kansas, Amtrak, and BNSF Railway.

“Please take a moment today and contact the following senators via email and phone (it’s fine to leave a message):

What we need you to say:

“Personalize your message, but make sure to clearly ask for their support of SB-176 in the Senate Appropriations Committee. And remember: always be respectful.

“Here are a few other points that you can make to the senators about why the Southwest Chief is so important to the people of Colorado:

  • The cost has gone done almost 80 percent because of successful negotiations between the state and other stakeholders;
  • No less than 12 local communities in Southeastern Colorado have already stepped up and paid their share to keep the train running;
  • We need to support rural Colorado;
  • Amtrak, BNSF Railway, and the state of Kansas have already spent millions on this project-it’s Colorado’s turn to show our support.”