A Line Contractor Wants $80M From RTD Over Flaggers, Withheld Payments

Nathaniel Minor/CPR News
An RTD commuter rail car pulls into Union Station in downtown Denver in May 2018.
Photo: RTD commuter train car May 2018 | MINOR
An RTD commuter rail car pulls into Union Station in downtown Denver in May 2018.

Amid pages upon pages of accusations over delays and alleged breaches of contract, the initial court filings in the lawsuits between the Regional Transportation District and their contractor for the A, B and G commuter rail lines were missing one thing: an exact dollar figure Denver Transit Partners was seeking from RTD.

That figure finally made an appearance in the private company’s motion to dismiss, filed on Oct. 31. And it’s a doozy: $80 million. For perspective, the contract between the two entities totals $2.1 billion.

It’s not an insignificant sum, “but it must be measured against the estimated $8 billion in economic impact that the Eagle P3 Project has contributed to the metro Denver economy,” Denver Transit Partners project manager John Thompson said in a statement.

Thompson noted his company’s bid for the project came in $300 million under RTD’s expectations, and said the A Line’s performance rate is 97.1 percent — the best of all of RTD’s services.

The primary issue is the troublesome wireless crossing gates that have yet to get final sign off from government safety regulators. Denver Transit Partners has paid for flaggers that have been stationed at crossings for most of the last two and a half years. And RTD has withheld millions of dollars in payments to the private company as well.

The two entities sued each other earlier in the fall, each side seeking an unspecified amount of money. RTD hasn’t yet made a dollar figure public. “Over the course of the litigation, the parties will have to prove out their damages,” said RTD spokeswoman Laurie Huff. She otherwise declined to comment.

Denver Transit Partners’ $80 million claim could get larger, the company said.

“DTP’s costs and interest will continue to mount until a decision is reached in this action and the responsibilities of RTD going forward have been clarified,” the company wrote in its motion to dismiss.

In its filing, Denver Transit Partners also urged the court to reject RTD’s counterclaims. It said RTD introduced new issues — such as an entire bridge that was demolished and rebuilt — that are only “tangentially” related to the matters the two parties tried to work out in a dispute resolution process prior to the lawsuits.

The lawsuit is not RTD’s only legal headache; the transit agency recently paid out millions of dollars to another contractor, Regional Rail Partners, over issues with the delayed N Line to Thornton.