Federal Railroad Administration Head Addresses Southwest Chief Commission

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Credit Maggie Spencer / 91.5 KRCC

Members of Colorado’s Southwest Chief Commission heard opening remarks at their meeting Thursday from the head of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration. 

The commission is tasked with finding ways to finance repairs and upgrades to rail lines and add a stop in Pueblo for the long-distance passenger train.  Federal Railroad Administration head Joseph Szabo says freight traffic and passenger rail numbers are growing, and it’s an important piece of the overall transportation picture.

"When you take a look at the transportation challenges that our nation faces, the cost of congestion today, and then understand the efficiencies of rail and how it can fit in to part of a balanced, multi-modal transportation network, the efficiencies of rail are impossible to ignore."

Advocates for preserving the Southwest Chief route recently received a 12.5 million dollar federal transportation grant that’s seen as a boon to the project, but more funding is needed.  Thursday’s meeting in Pueblo was the third for the Commission.