Denver's Road to Success: FasTrack Light Rail
Denver is emerging as a new leader in the nation. The ultimate goal for Denver: outcompete the bigger, older, more established cities and become their leader.
There are the obvious characteristics of the city that point to Denver’s success: our booming startup industry, increase of well-educated millennials, and high quality of life.
However, what you may not have realized is that our shiny, new light rail system is doing more than taking people to work: it’s transforming our culture, and moving Denver “into the 21st century,” according to Mayor Hancock.
In fact, our public transportation is one of the key elements attracting the well-educated millenials credited for our growing success.
Politico Magazine recently wrote an article about the new system, calling it “The Train that Saved Denver.” The author, Colin Woodard, believes that with FasTrack light rail, Denver has accomplished something no other city could.
While cities nationwide have notoriously bad public transportation systems, with scheduling issues, protests, and PR nightmares, Denver’s system is widely praised. Our light rail system is the 8th largest in the country: 68 stations, covering 98 miles (15 more miles to come), along 10 different spurs. Number 8 isn’t so bad for a city that isn’t even in the top 20 for population.
But, it’s more than a fancy way of public transportation. According to the article, the light rail is responsible for bringing neighborhoods back to life and even creating new ones.
The once auto-centric Denver area now has the capacity to be the “higher-density, tightly integrated, urban center,” our competitors have always been: but Denver does it better.
One of the coolest things about the system is the state’s self-investment. The project was a public-private partnership, combining private funding with tax dollars and federal grants. The project could not have continued without Coloradan’s approval for major taxpayer investments.