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LITTLETON, Colo. — A Littleton-based research group has helped reignite the discussion about the possibility of a high-speed train connecting the Denver area to the mountains.

Patty Silverstein, the president and chief economist at Development Research Partners, is spearheading an economic impact survey that is now available for Colorado residents to share their opinions on high-speed transit options.

One of the survey’s goals is to determine if high-speed travel is something most Coloradans want. It also tries to determine whether it would be financially feasible.

“It really is about how much more might everybody spend in those restaurants or in retail — or in ski areas or other types of recreation — with the introduction of a high-speed transit system,” Silverstein said.

A high-speed train connecting Denver to mountain communities could shave hours off travel times, especially in the winter, when ski traffic can exacerbate Interstate 70’s already crowded conditions.

In fact, traffic on I-70 has gotten so bad, the Federal Highway Administration has told the state of Colorado it must do something about it. The FHA said high-speed transit must be part of the solution. Some Coloradans agree.

“I think it’s critical. Everybody in Europe is on high-speed trains. What’s happened to us?” Victoria Sanchez of Denver said.

“I’ve always thought there had to be a better way to get everybody to the Western Slope,” said Joe Miklos, who owns a business in Golden.

Margaret Bowes is the director of the I-70 Coalition, the mission of which is to “enhance public accessibility and mobility in the I-70 Central Mountain Corridor and adjoining dependent counties and municipalities through the implementation of joint public and private transportation management efforts.” She said adding lanes to I-70 would not provide a long-term solution.

“We know that we could widen the entire corridor and in just a matter of years, we would be back to the same level of congestion we have today,” Bowes said.

A high-speed transit option is estimated to cost between $13 billion and $16 billion to build. It is currently unknown how the costs would be covered.

Click on the following links to take the Development Research Partners survey:

Metro Denver Residents

I-70 Mountain Corridor Residents

I-70 Mountain Corridor Businesses