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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

USDOT provides $1 billion for Denver RTD's Eagle P3 commuter-rail project


Yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood signed an agreement committing $1 billion in federal dollars to the Regional Transportation District of Denver’s (RTD) Eagle P3 project, which calls for building two commuter-rail lines totaling 34 miles as part of the agency’s FasTracks program.

LaHood signed the funding agreement at a groundbreaking ceremony for the project’s 11.2-mile Gold Line in Olde Town Arvada, alongside Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and other dignitaries.

Developed through a public-private partnership and slated for completion in 2016, the Eagle P3 project will create jobs and nearly halve the time it takes commuters to travel from downtown to Denver International Airport, said LaHood in a prepared statement.

“Eagle P3 provides Denver with transportation choices that reduce congestion, promote clean air and reduce our nation’s dependence on costly oil,” he said.

The federal funding agreement will cover about half of the project’s $2 billion cost, according to LaHood. The agreement clears the way for construction to begin on the Gold Line, the project’s western segment, which will connect Denver Union Station to Wheat Ridge and pass through northwest Denver and Arvada. The Gold Line will feature seven stations.

The Eagle P3 project’s East Line — which will run 22.8 miles from Denver’s Union Station to the airport and connect with existing light-rail and bus services — is under construction. A Denver Transit Partners consortium previously was contracted by RTD to design, build, operate, maintain and finance the East and Gold lines, as well as the first segment of the Northwest Corridor and a commuter-rail maintenance facility.

New rail cars slated for use on the lines will be assembled in the United States, with at least 60 percent of the components U.S.-made — consistent with federal Buy America requirements, according to LaHood.

RTD’s FasTracks program calls for building 122 miles of commuter- and light-rail lines, creating 18 miles of bus rapid transit service and redeveloping Denver Union Station.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/1/2011