As Amtrak's CEO gets ready to retire, he gave us his final thoughts on the possibility of adding a passenger stop in Pueblo.
It wasn't too long ago that the Southwest Chief Commission feared the Southwest Chain,which runs from Los Angeles to Chicago, might shut down.
But now, they're looking ahead at expansion--a rail link from Pueblo to La Junta to join the Amtrak route.
Outgoing CEO Joe Boardman told News5 he wants Pueblo to be a part of it.
"There has always been an interest in the Front Range--from Cheyenne all the way down to Trinidad so it certainly fits there," Boardman said.
The proposed route would add an Amtrak stop in Pueblo, giving passengers the opportunity to ride all the way to Chicago.
A Ridership and Revenue study recently revealed that adding a stop would generate an annual 1.5 million dollars in ticket sales.
A separate study found the Amtrak stop would bring in 6.5 million dollars in local economic activity.
Boardman says there's a key partnership they'll need to establish first.
"We need to make sure that Governor Hickenlooper and others are particularly interested in this service because state support to make some of things happen is critical," he explained.
"The goal is to connect the entire front range with transit service--Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins," said County Commissioner Sal Pace.
"If that's going to happen, it's going to take state, local, and federal partnership," Pace added.
The big question remains, how much will it cost?
Pace says they haven't been given those figures just yet, but he tells News5 the money won't be coming out of taxpayer's pockets.
"There's a lot of funding mechanisms that already exist in place. For instance, Regional Transportation Authority, Urban Renewal Funding--there are some state grants for transit and rail, too," said Pace.
The Commission expects to have what they call "hard numbers" on the cost of the proposal later this month.