Colorado appeals court sides with RTD in $111 million fight with contractor

Nathaniel Minor/CPR News
A flagger stands in front of a G Line crossing in Arvada, Colorado in January 2018.

The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that the Regional Transportation District does not have to reimburse a contractor for roughly $111 million in costs stemming from problems with commuter rail line crossing gates.

In a May 9 ruling, a judge affirmed a lower court’s ruling last year that was later appealed by RTD’s contractor, Denver Transit Partners. 

The issue dates back to the mid-2010s when Denver Transit Partners built the A-, B- and G-lines for RTD. The company used new wireless technology to control crossing gates that met relatively new federal safety standards.

The gates did not initially work properly, however, leading safety regulators to require human flaggers to be stationed at crossings for years. Those and related costs escalated to more than $100 million and eventually led to lawsuits between RTD and the contractor.

The new court ruling, first reported by Colorado Politics, affirms RTD’s “longstanding conviction that Denver Transit Partners is responsible for the costs associated with its initial failure to deliver a system consistent with federal and state standards, as promised,” RTD spokesperson Stuart Summers wrote in a statement.

“RTD is pleased with this outcome and looks forward to moving past the yearslong legal dispute,” Summers continued.

Reached by phone, Doug Allen, executive project director and CEO of Denver Transit Partners, said company officials haven’t yet decided whether to appeal the ruling. The company planned to issue a statement on the ruling shortly, he said.