RTD and the western side of the Denver metro area got a W last week — the W Rail line to connect the Jefferson County Government Center to Union Station officially opened.
Hundreds of people attended the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Jeffco Government Center in Golden to see the light-rail train plow through a ribbon and hear dignitaries including Gov. John Hickenlooper during the opening on April 26. Hickenlooper said the expansion of RTD’s light-rail system was an important investment in the state’s future.
He then signed two transportation-related bills. The first, Senate bill 13-048, allows for more mass transit, bicycling and walking improvements to be completed with the state’s vehicle gas tax money.
“The bill gives local governments more flexibility on how they use those funds,” Hickenlooper said.
Other speakers praised RTD for delivering the W Rail Line on budget and eight months ahead of schedule. City of Lakewood Mayor Bob Murphy said the line opens up new possibilities where to live, work and play.
The last speaker of the program was RTD General Manager Phil Washington, who stressed that the W Rail Line was just the latest in a series of RTD rail expansions on the way, including service to Denver International Airport.
“We are building a system that will be here for the next 100 years,” Washington said.
Dignitaries were invited to hop on the W Rail Line for the first train trip of the day after the ceremony. Then the gates were opened to allow free rides for the general public to experience the new service. Near the front of the line to ride the line were Roger and Bernadette Seick of Golden.
“We’ve been watching the construction all this time, and now we finally get to see its completion,” Bernadette Seick said.
“It’s a very convenient way to get downtown and see the things we want to, and save the parking rage,” Roger Seick said.
The couple expressed surprise at the turnout being so strong.
“Hopefully that’s an indication of future use,” Bernadette Seick added.