Front Range transport hub may miss out on truck/rail freight
DENVER – A proposed regional transportation hub planned for Front Range Airport near Denver may find itself left at the altar.Developers had been counting on a Union Pacific rail and truck freight yard, and signed a letter of intent with Union Pacific in 2004. But a Union Pacific spokeswoman says the company is leaning more toward building its rail center on a 640-acre site near Fort Lupton, 20 miles north.The proposed hub at Front Range Airport, dubbed TransPort, has been planned for an area southwest of Denver International Airport, east of Denver, just north of Interstate 70.Front Range Airport director Dennis Heap said Fort Lupton’s consideration was a surprise.Union Pacific is conducting a nine-month study before making a final decision, spokeswoman Kathryn Blackwell said.Fort Lupton City manager Tom Parko confirmed the talks with his city and said the $40 million project would bring several hundred jobs to the area, paying between $60,000 and $80,000.Heap said the rail company’s decision to consider Fort Lupton is “frustrating” and said if Union Pacific opts for the northern site, the Front Range Airport’s continued development as a cargo operation will be left in doubt.All may not be lost. TransPort also owns land that’s being considered as one of two potential sites for a 75,000-seat NASCAR superspeedway. TransPort developer Bill Schuck said the organization would sell land needed for the race track if the site is selected.Schuck said TransPort would also still work with Union Pacific if the rail company’s plans for Fort Lupton fall through. And, he said, a freight yard might still work for shippers who depend on other modes of transportation.
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