June 17 2010, 12:02 PM
The Regional Transportation District, which has lately been discussing a rail line between downtown and Denver International Airport, is now offering more specifics. Such a line could be open by January 2016---11 months ahead of deadline, according to the Denver Business Journal, which points out that earlier this week, RTD's board voted unanimously to award a contract that could be worth $7.1 billion over 46 years to the Denver Transit Partners consortium. The group would operate and maintain the line, and others, after they are built. The Partners' proposal for design and construction comes in at $2.085 billion, about $300 million lower than RTD’s budget estimate for the project. "It is a remarkable achievement for RTD to get a project of this magnitude through a public-private partnership that meets our goal of contracting under our budget and ahead of our schedule," says Lee Kemp, chair of the RTD Board (via the Denver Daily News). The voter-approved FasTracks project continues to grapple with a $2 billion shortfall, and some of the lines promised to voters may not be built without a sales-tax increase. The construction of approved lines, which begins in August, will spark jobs in the Denver area: About 5,000 skilled construction workers are needed, writes Fox 31, which notes that hiring will begin soon.