RTD’s A Line Contractor Wants A Trial In Multimillion-Dollar Legal Dispute

<p>Hart Van Denburg/CPR News</p>
<p>RTD A Line commuter rail trains at the 38th and Blake Street station in Denver.</p>
Photo: A Line RTD Commuter Rail 38th Street Station Snow 1 HV 20190124
RTD A Line commuter rail trains at the 38th and Blake Street station in Denver.

Denver Transit Partners, the Regional Transportation District's contractor that built and operates the A, B and G lines, has requested that its legal battle with the transit agency go to trial next summer. 

The private company sued RTD last fall, seeking $80 million in damages over ongoing delays and withheld payments by the agency. RTD countersued, alleging its contractor is trying to "retroactively shift blame." 

In a court filing this week, Denver Transit Partners' legal team asked for a four-week trial in spring or early summer of 2020. That request could be a signal that a settlement between the parties isn't likely.

Our filing is the next step in that procedure, which is a strictly commercial matter between the parties," Denver Transit Partners executive project director John Thompson said in a statement.

An RTD spokeswoman declined to comment. Any trial would be a bench trial, because both parties waived the right to a jury trial in their 200-plus page contract.

Despite the legal challenges, trains continue to roll. The A Line has an on-time rate of 97 percent and had carried more than 17 million riders since it opened in April 2016, exceeding initial projections. And the long-delayed G Line to Arvada is inching closer to opening.

The two sides are still maintaining a public relationship. Executives from both organizations spoke at a press conference earlier this month. But RTD said last month that it will operate its next commuter rail line, the N Line to Thornton, on its own.

"The more I deal with Denver Transit Partners on the existing system, and the lack of responsiveness going forward, I believe that RTD would have a better product," Henry Stopplecamp, assistant general manager of capital programs for RTD, told the agency’s board members in January.