May 14, 2014 7:40 PM by Lisa Lyden
Colorado is joining the effort to preserve the current route of Amtrak's Southwest Chief.
On Wednesday, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill creating a commission to work with officials in Kansas and New Mexico to continue the existing service. It also pushes for a new stop in Pueblo.
The Southwest Chief travels between Chicago and Los Angeles, but part of the current route is in jeopardy because the Burlington Northern Santa Fe track it uses needs to be upgraded and maintained.
BNSF, Amtrak and Kansas have pledged a combined $9 million to be matched by possible federal grants. Colorado's bill sets up a fund to accept donations to pay for the work, but the money could only be spent if all states and parties contribute.
Rep. Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo), says " "The Southwest Chief is vital for Southern Colorado's economy and way of life. This commission will tackle all available options to keep the Southwest Chief running through Colorado."