“I hear that train a comin” is a line from Johnny Cash’s song Folsom Prison Blues. Perhaps you can’t actually hear it, but it is metaphorically “coming round the bend.” I hope that many of you are aware of the chamber’s involvement in the important Front Range Rail project. Transportation up and down the front range will be a major influencer of how our economy advances and if it modernizes quickly like we desire.
I know that some of you think that front range rail is like a “Boy Named Sue.” It is a cute project, but it has very little real meaning. Factually some of our Wyoming Brethren hear “I Walk the Line” and you think it means to stop at mile marker zero and turn around before your Wyoming cred is tarnished by Colorado greenie. Truth be told; however, I see many of you down in Fort Collins from time to time and working at the depot I see many of our southern neighbors doing business in Cheyenne every single day.
Some of you just went into a “Cocaine Blues” crazed rant about Wyoming isolation and how much you think we need to separate, but, before you slide off into the rhetoric, remember what is separating now is our children. Our children are separating from Wyoming for jobs in Colorado, and we need to fix that problem. Cheyenne and Laramie County depend deeply on the economic circumstances of our neighbors to the south and our train (pun intended) is forever hitched to their economy. It’s not a “You Are My Sunshine” kind of circumstance where we are beholden to them, but it is factual to say that we have a strong symbiotic relationship and without an advanced transportation system both of us have economic loss. Falling into a “Ring of Fire” for front range rail is the smart thing to do for us. It is a solution-based effort to solve economic and transportation problems that have cost us for at least a decade.
Your Chamber of Commerce is deeply involved in this project. We have engaged as a non-voting member of the Colorado Passenger Rail Commission, and now we have been appointed to the Front Range Passenger Rail Commission as a non-voting member. We will continue to work diligently to push this project down the track for our people. It is also important to take a moment and thank our elected officials who have supported our efforts on this project. Governor Gordon, Mayor Collins, and many others have been supportive of this important economic development project, and we are grateful.
Rail is not the end all be all for our transportation future,nor is it the magic bullet for any particular problem, but it can be an important building block for us. We must coordinate efforts on all fronts to achieve our transportation goals. Road, Air, and Rail are all important components of a transportation strategy that builds our economy, supports our people’s needs, and modernizes our community. Johnny famously sang “One Piece at a Time” and that’s how we’ll get it done! Continuously completing pieces of the puzzle to achieve ultimate success. If we are ultimately successful not only will we connect to the front range, but we might also even be able to ride to “Jackson” and eventually our children will be able to say “I’ve Been Everywhere” and I have been there by train.
Your Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1907 and is more than 1,000 members strong. We advocate for business at all levels of government and promote our community to make the region a better place to live, work, and do business. Visit www.cheyennechamber.org/advocacy for more information about our work at your chamber.