A Commuter Rail Update from RTD

January 22, 2019

We appreciate your interest in the status of two of RTD’s commuter rail lines, the University of Colorado A Line and the G Line, and we write to provide you with the latest updates. Public interest in these projects is high, and it is our aim to keep you as informed as possible.

On Thursday, January 17, RTD CEO and General Manager Dave Genova met with Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) officials in Washington, D.C. as a follow up to the RTD grade crossing action plan and meeting on December 14. As a result of the December meeting, FRA responded that they were impressed with the commitment demonstrated by RTD, DTP and the RTD Board, and that the plan submitted provides a viable path forward. RTD and DTP were asked to provide additional information, which we did during the FRA headquarters meeting on January 17.

At the January 17 meeting, RTD and DTP presented a 90-day plan outlining the immediate next steps of the grade crossing action plan and schedule for each task. Also discussed as part of the meeting agenda were the following items: revenue service demonstration (PTC related) approval for the G Line; process and next steps to add the G Line to the long-term University of Colorado A Line and B Line waiver; and process and next steps toward approving quiet zones on the University of Colorado A Line.

We anticipate we will be hearing from the FRA regarding the revenue service demonstration for the G Line, and the constant warning time waiver for the University of Colorado A Line within the next few weeks. Our next FRA headquarters meeting is scheduled for February 21.

RTD and DTP are committed to meeting the requirements of regulatory agencies. At this time we do not have an opening date for the G Line, but we remain focused on reaching the requirements so that regulators will approve quiet zones on the University of Colorado A Line and the G Line and the FRA will allow revenue service on the G Line. As a reminder, below are the necessary steps and where we are in the process for obtaining quiet zones and achieving revenue service on the G Line.

Here is where we are with the quiet zone process on University of Colorado A Line and the G Line:

  • The FRA responded to RTD that the system does not provide constant warning time, so we applied for a waiver from constant warning time for the grade crossings
  • Waiver request for constant warning time for the University of Colorado A Line grade crossings in Denver, posted in Federal
  • Register and the comment period is closed
  • Waiver request for constant warning time for the University of Colorado A Line grade crossings in Aurora, posted in Federal
  • Register on November 16 and the comment period is closed
  • Waiver request for constant warning time on the G Line grade crossings in Arvada and Wheat Ridge was submitted to the FRA on November 16, notice was posted in the Federal Register on December 13 and the comment period closes on January 28
  • The Waiver request for constant warning time on the G Line grade crossings in Adams County was submitted the week of December 17, it still needs posting in the Federal Register
  • After closing of the comment period, the FRA will consider the approval of the waiver(s)
  • Assuming the waivers for constant warning time are approved, the next step is to file the notice of establishment for quiet zones, there is a 21-day period, then if no FRA objections, quiet zones are established
  • RTD stands ready with local jurisdictions to file the notice of establishment as soon as the waivers are approved

We are hopeful the next action will be the approval of the constant warning time waiver for the Denver grade crossings on the University of Colorado A Line and for revenue service demonstration (PTC) on the G Line.

While the FRA letter mentions up to a year, we are striving to make progress as quickly as we can and we believe much will be addressed in a shorter timeframe.

Regarding the process toward revenue service on the G Line, there are a number of regulatory approvals still necessary, and there are two agencies involved, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the FRA.

DTP continues to optimize and adjust the grade crossing timing. Once the timing is optimized to an acceptable level, the grade crossing activation time will be field verified by the PUC and FRA.

The FRA process includes the following main steps:

  • Field verification of grade crossing timing
  • Approval to enter revenue service demonstration (PTC)
  • Approval to add the G Line to the University of Colorado A Line and B Line waiver
  • Approval of quiet zones

The PUC process includes the following main steps:

  • Field verification of grade crossing timing
  • Review and approval through the PUC Commissioners (requires G Line added to waiver)

While there are many steps in this process to reach quiet zones on University of Colorado A Line and G Line and open the G Line, we will make every effort to keep you informed along the way. Updates will be made available on the RTD website.

Sincerely,
The RTD Communications Team