The final leg of a two-year regulatory iditerod that has stalled completion of the Denver Eagle rail P3 project appears to be within sight. Political pressure is rising to avoid a termination of the concession held by Denver Transit Partners (DTP). That could still happen, according to Fitch, if DTP again fails to meet its revenue service deadline, now set for June 2. The demise of the first P3 rail project in the U.S. due to unforeseeable regulatory risk would permanently shift the risk-reward equation against urban rail development contracts here, experts say.
The bitter irony is that DTP managing partner Fluor Enterprises has delivered, and Alternate Concepts is operating, a technologically advanced, safety tested $1.3-billion commuter rail system that is exceeding its ridership forecasts. On the advice of its independent engineer, the owner, Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD), has accepted (but not yet certified) two of the three Eagle lines, A and B, both of which have been operating with a perfect safety record since last summer.