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RTD GM-CEO Commuter Rail Update regarding FRA notice

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently sent the Regional Transportation District (RTD) a letter outlining concerns pertaining to RTD’s commuter rail lines partially financed, designed, built and operated by our Concessionaire, Denver Transit Partners (DTP).

RTD General Manager and CEO Dave Genova provided an update to the media on the commuter rail lines and the corrective plan that was submitted to FRA. Representatives from DTP were also be at the conference. This press event took place on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 at 12:30 p.m.

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A Commuter Rail Update - 12/21/18



December 21, 2018

On Thursday, December 20 CEO and General Manager of RTD Dave Genova met with Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) officials in Washington, D.C. to discuss the RTD oversight plan and grade crossing action plan submitted on December 14. As a result of the 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 are to provide additional information and data and will do so shortly.

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 FRA will allow 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 closes on December 31.
  • 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 will be submitted the week of December 17.
  • 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.


Now that the action plan has been submitted and FRA has reviewed the plan, we are hopeful that we will be receiving actions on the pending issues. For example, on December 21, 2018, the FRA approved the removal of the grade crossing attendants from the three crossings on the University of Colorado A Line and the one crossing on the B Line.

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. 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.