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Expansion on RTD Light Rail System

Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) program has exploded in size in the recent years and still seeks expansion.  RTD provides public transportation for the city of Denver and the surrounding suburbs by supplying bus and light rail transit, and now with the population growth more people are now relying on public transit to commute. The expansion would not only help people commute, RTD would be helping the environment in the “green movement,” aid in the development of cities and towns, and help stabilize the local and state economy.

As people become more aware of the climate change and what they can do to help be more “green,” people are seeking other methods of transportation to and from places rather than taking a car.  This is where RTD comes into play.  One way by going green is that buses and light rail cars have a higher passenger capacity than cars.  The U.S. is responsible for 25 percent of the world’s energy consumption that contributes five percent to climate change (McGill).  If RTD and the rest of the U.S. move to a more of a European transit style, we would reduce our imported oil dependence by 40 percent (McGill).  Even though light rail is run on electricity, the XCEL energy company is moving towards using more renewable energy sources like wind and solar to produce electricity.  XCEL has to produce 20 percent of their energy by renewable energy sources by the year 2020 (XCEL).  As energy source change and become cheaper to produce and buy, RTD can invest their saves into themselves so they can expand into new cities and help development.

Since RTD is investing back into themselves and spreading out into more communities, they are showing their commitment to community services and development.  As accessibility throughout communities widens, investors are starting to see more opportunities to either develop or redevelop the land surrounding transit stations.  Property values can see value increases of 3-40 percent due to accessibility by the range of light rails alone here in Denver (McGill).  For example, along the Sante Fe Drive road in Denver there is a light rail that ran right next to the old Gates Rubber factory and now developers have leveled the unused factory and built apartments in place of the factory.  Also, with all the new accessibility in areas, more people are able to get out and around town to stores and work with more ease.

With more people able to get to stores and businesses easier, they are more likely to spend their money locally and in greater quantity.  The more money being spent in stores and other businesses will help stimulate the local economy and reduce dollar leakage outside the state.  As people are spending more money on public transit, this translates into more money in the local economy.  For every one dollar spent on public transit, that dollar will generate six dollars in the local economy (McGill).  Also, with a ten million dollar capital investment into transit, means 31 million dollars in added business output and 18 million dollars in additional personal income over the next twenty years (McGill).  The more public transit put in place; people can reduce their household income spent on commuting greatly. Cities like Houston, Texas that do not have an extensive light rail system, people are spending roughly 21 percent of their income on commuting while cities with rail systems like Denver spend less of their income (McGill).  This all promotes a more healthier and stable local and state government and economy.

By supplying more public transportation, the positive out comes RTD will be giving back to the community and environment out weigh any reason for not installing more rails for light rail and putting more buses on the road.  The expansion of RTD is necessary in the ways that RTD will be contributing to the “green movement,” help the development of cities and towns, and relieve the recent economic stresses and stabilize the problems.

Works Cited

McGill, Tracy. Reasons Light Rail is an Efficient Transportation Option for U.S. Cities. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike. 1 Jan. 2011. Web. 8 Feb. 2011. <http://www.metaefficient.com/trains/master-2.html>.

XCEL Energy on Track to Cut CO2 Emissions 15% by 2020. Environmental Leader. 28 Mar. 2010. Web. 8 Feb. 2011. <http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/05/28/xcel-energy-on-track-to-cut-co2-emissions-15-by-2020/>.

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