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Long-awaited RTD light rail R Line through Aurora opens

AURORA, Colo. -- RTD's newest light rail began operating Friday. The long-awaited R Line connects Aurora to Lone Tree as well as the RTD A Line to Denver International Airport and Union Station.

A grand opening ceremony was held at the Iliff station. There will be celebrations all day as well as free rides from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. so people can check out the route.

The line goes through the heart of the city along Interstate 225. It's 10 1/2 miles from Nine Mile Station to the Peoria Station with eight stations in between and four park and rides.

Paid parking is required at the Iliff parking garage because it's owned by the city of Aurora and not RTD.

The line then joins the existing track to the Lincoln Station in Lone Tree for a total of 22 miles.

The line will connect passengers to the city center, the University of Colorado Hospital campus and Children's Hospital Colorado. RTD says it's an outstanding regional connector.

“What I’m really excited for is the community," RTD CEO Dave Genova said. "These projects take such a long time. It’s a great service for the community and that’s what I’m really thrilled for.

"It's really going to open up brand-new mobility options and commute options for people to get to a lot of different work centers in a lot of different directions, and of course the connection with the a line and go to either DIA or Union Station."

The line is part of RTD's 2004 voter-approved FasTracks plan to expand transit across the metro area. The R Line is the fourth line to open in the past 14 months.