Proposals to study the feasibility of a passenger rail system along the Front Range, which contains 85 percent of the state’s population, are being requested by the Colorado Department of Transportation along with the Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Commission.

The 173-mile corridor under consideration would link Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Denver, according to a CDOT news release. Multimodal transportation options will be part of the proposals.

“The (Passenger Rail) Commission is excited to explore how passenger rail can bring sustainable and real congestion relief along our Front Range,” said Jill Gaebler, PRC chair, in the release. “As our population grows, the I-25 corridor will continue to be a vital link to our economy, moving people and goods while improving connectivity and allowing Colorado to flourish.”

Options explored will consider a range of technology for expanding transportation alternatives, the release stated.

“To meet the growing needs of our state, Colorado needs a robust, energy efficient, sustainable transportation system that incorporates different modes of travel and provides more choices for the movement of people and goods,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “The Passenger Rail Commission and CDOT look forward to expediting our review of options through a streamlined environmental review process that accelerates delivery of results that will improve safe and efficient travel up and down the Front Range, and keep people and our economy moving.”

Front Range population, which is forecast to be 4.9 million in 2020, is expected to grow to 6.6 million in 2045, a 35 percent increase, according to the release. The PRC is tasked with implementing future passenger rail service along the Front Range and Interstate 25.