The plan to make Denver International Airport even more accessible to and from downtown was set to receive a major upgrade Wednesday as the federal government is set to pump an additional $1.3 billion into the Regional Transportation District’s FasTracks program.
A press conference slated for 3 p.m. at the Grandview lot at Grandview Avenue and Webster Street in Arvada, was scheduled to be attended by Gov. John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Transit Administration Administrator Peter Rogoff, who planned to announce the “full-funding grant agreement” that would cover a major portion of cost of the Eagle segment, which includes connection to DIA.
The stated cost of the entire Eagle project was originally put at $2 billion, according to the Denver Business Journal.
The grant will go along way toward establishing a fast, direct connection between DIA and downtown and help fulfill the dream of past and present city officials who see the rail line as a way to build up the area between the two destination points.
At the recent groundbreaking for the light-rail station at downtown Denver’s Union Station, Hancock said of the proposed FasTracks line to DIA, “Very soon, I want to take that 28 minute ride to DIA. That will continue to transform the entire region and connect Denver with the rest of the world.”
In addition to connecting DIA to downtown Denver via the East Rail Line, the Eagle section of the FasTracks project also would establish a “Gold line” between downtown and Arvada and Wheat Ridge as well as a northwest connection from downtown to West 71st Avenue and Lowell Boulevard.
The Gold line segment is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. The northwest section is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018.
The press conference was also set to include a groundbreaking ceremony for the new “Olde Town Station” for the Gold line.
In all, the FasTracks program seeks to lay out approximately 120 miles of regional transportation in the Denver area at a final estimated cost of $6.8 billion.