Longmont City Council wants the Regional Transportation District to stay away from a savings account that is supposed to fund a train to Boulder and Longmont and hinted at legal action to keep the money intact.
Council members Tuesday night voted unanimously to send a letter to RTD officials asking them not to dip into the savings because it could be used to fund the unfinished northwest RTD corridor. The money also could be used for an engineering study for the corridor conducted by the BNSF railroad, said councilwoman Joan Peck.
“I believe the ... account needs to remain intact,” Peck said.
Mayor Brian Bagley also took aim at comments made by some RTD board members that indicated the Northwest Rail project may not be built at all. Bagley said he would inform city council members about future legal moves against RTD.
“It might be time to do something,” Bagley said.
RTD officials say COVID-19 has hit the agency hard, prompting possible layoffs of more than 600 employees. The agency is now facing a $166 million deficit for 2021.
RTD board members said earlier this month they would be in favor of raiding a $120 million fund tucked away to help complete the northwest corridor rail service and redirect the money toward other projects.
The redirected fund could help fund a bus rapid transit service between Boulder and Longmont.
The northwest corridor was part of the 2004-voter approved FasTracks plan that was supposed to surround the Denver-metro area. But budget constraints have kept the agency from completing the Boulder-to-Longmont portion of the project.
The Northwest Chamber Alliance — which includes the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce — blasted the RTD proposal in a letter to the RTD board.
“We understand RTD resources are stretched due to impacts of COVID,” the letter said. “That is no excuse for raiding funds that are tied to long-term infrastructure investment commitments to our community that address our regional mobility and economic vitality.”