Officials: Costs derailing Denver’s rail expansion |

Officials: Costs derailing Denver’s rail expansion

DENVER ” Lower tax revenues from a slowing economy and a $4.7 billion estimate that’s ballooned to $6.1 billion means Denver’s expansion of its rail commuter system won’t be completed as promised in 2017.

Officials Friday said they’re considering asking voters for additional taxes to complete the project on schedule, pushing back the completion date, or scaling down the project to save money.

“We’re dealing with that reality, and I am going to have to adapt the program to fiscal reality,” Cal Marsella, RTD general manager said Friday. “Our material costs are up and our revenues are down from projections. Reality is reality, and we’re going to have to adapt to that.”

Voters in 2004 approved a 0.4-cent increase in the regional sales tax to fund the project called FasTracks, one of the nation’s largest public transit expansions. Plans call for seven new corridors and additions to three existing ones.

Construction already is under way on a 12.1 mile rail line from Denver to the suburbs of Lakewood and Golden.

Estimates on that portion of the project, which is expected to be completed by 2013, last month increased 11.5 percent to $707.6 million, which officials see as an indication of how much costs for other parts of the project will rise.

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