Lawmaker calls for feasibility study of high-speed rail between Chihuahua and Denver

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SANTA FE, N.M. — High-speed trains are becoming a popular form of transportation. That’s why New Mexico Sen. Bill Soules says he is working on two bills for the upcoming legislative session that could bring one through the state.

“One of them is to study putting in a high-speed rail, from Chihuahua to Denver, or at least I can manage through the New Mexico portion of it,” Soules said. “The second bill would be to fund the portion that would go through New Mexico.”

He said it would be a challenge to actually pull off.

“I have no illusions that that’s actually going to happen, and partly because it really has to be bigger than New Mexico, but I can’t compel Mexico, Texas, Colorado or anyone else, only what we do in New Mexico,” Soules said.

But Soules said an international line wouldn’t be impossible, and it’s worth looking into.

“I’m working with Dr. Peach, a noted economist at New Mexico State, who, his comment was, how transformational it would be to the New Mexico economy if we were able to do something like that,” Soules said. “The purpose of the study would be to actually do the economic impact and the return on investment if we were to put in a high-speed rail.

Some high-speed trains in other countries reach speeds of 220 mph, significantly cutting down travel times by car.

“The majority of tweets that I get back are like, ‘Oh my gosh, I would use that regularly,’ that would be transformational,” Soules said.

While it is an interesting topic of discussion, the senator said no one is actually building a train in the state anytime soon.

“It really requires people much bigger than me as a state senator in New Mexico,” he said. “I see some of my role, though, is to talk about what could be if we were able to do this, to try and get more people engaged and involved.”