In the 2004 election, voters approved the North Metro Corridor as part of the FasTracks program. The North Metro Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is the next step in implementing the program. The North Metro EIS does not start from scratch, rather it builds upon the recommendations from previous studies, using them as a starting point for analysis.
RTD has studied the potential for the North Metro Rail Line to operate as a rail transit corridor for the past 26 years. The most recent studies RTD conducted in the North Metro Rail Line were the North Metro Transportation Study (2001) and the Three Corridors Scoping Study (2005).
In 2001, RTD completed the North Metro Major Investment Study, better known as the North Metro Transportation Study. The study evaluated transit alternatives on the north I-25 corridor from Denver to Brighton. The study team developed packages of combined transportation elements and selected one package for the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA). The LPA package included Bus/HOV lanes on I-25 and I-76/SH-224, widening of I-25 and I-76, Light Rail Transit/Diesel Multiple Unit along Union Pacific Railroad Boulder Branch, roadway improvements and Transportation Management elements. The RTD FasTracks Plan extended the alignment from 124th Avenue to 162nd Avenue.
The 2005 Three Corridors Scoping Study furthered RTD's analysis of the North Metro LPA. The study raised a number of technical concerns to be considered in the EIS including, ridership forecast re-evaluation, siting of the Commerce City and Globeville/Swansea stations and locating the rail alignment to avoid the Sand Creek Interlocker.
Based on the previous studies, the North Metro Rail Line's Preferred Alternative includes a single-track with five passing tracks and eight station locations between Denver Union and SH7/162nd Avenue in Thornton. The stations are located at the National Western Stock Show, 72th Avenue, 88th Avenue, 104th Avenue, 112th Avenue, 124th Avenue, 144th Avenue and SH 7/162nd Avenue.