Union Station construction: ColoRail files for restraining order to stop it

As we noted last week, Union Station 2.0 is finally ready to be built, courtesy of a $304 million loan the project just scored from the feds. In fact, preliminary construction work in the area started this past Monday.

But that and all other work on Union Station will stop soon enough if the Colorado Rail Passenger Association has anything to say about it. Yesterday the advocacy group filed for a temporary restraining order that would halt all work on the project until the federal lawsuit ColoRail filed against the project wraps up in court.

The lawsuit, filed last May, alleges that the station's development plan shortchanges transportation opportunities in the area for the benefit of private development and demands that the federal agency that green-lit the project go back and consider other options. Until a federal judge has ruled on the lawsuit, ColoRail Board President Ira Schreiber says shovels shouldn't be allowed to hit the dirt.

"Obviously, the more they dig, the more they will have an argument that they can't turn back now," says Schreiber. "They could say, 'The chickens are out of the hen house and we can't round them back up.'"

Schreiber thinks the lawsuit should be wrapped up soon enough. With just a few more rounds of lawyerly briefs and replies to be filed in court, he estimates U.S. District Judge John Kane will rule on their suit within six weeks.

In the meantime, Kane will decide on ColoRail's restraining order this Friday at 10 a.m. at the U.S. Courthouse downtown. If he finds in their favor, the long-planned rehabilitation of Union Station will be delayed yet again.

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Joel Warner is a former staff writer for Westword and International Business Times. He's also written for WIRED, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Slate, Grantland and many other publications. He's co-author of the 2014 book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, published by Simon & Schuster.
Contact: Joel Warner