New Study Explores Southwest Chief’s Economic Impact In Colorado

A new study says Amtrak’s Southwest Chief passenger rail line puts $49 million a year into Colorado’s economy.

Last year Amtrak threatened to stop running the train through southeastern Colorado and use buses to cover that part of the route.

Jim Mathews leads the Rail Passengers Association, the national organization that commissioned the report. He said the so-called bus bridge is now off the table, but the research is important because it shows the rail line is a growth engine for the towns and counties it passes through.

“These communities are benefitting tremendously from the fact that there is a Southwest Chief service, and they would be harmed tremendously if that service were to go away,” Mathews said.

The formulas developed to do this study can be used to evaluate the socio-economic benefit of other long distance train lines around the nation.The study was done by researchers at the University of Southern Mississippi and the RPA. It analyzes socio-economic benefits that the Southwest Chief brings to the eight states and 32 counties it passes through, and breaks them down on a county by county basis.

Read more, get a link to the study and listen to the story at KRCC.org

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