Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

The week ahead: FasTracks considers how to make ends meet

FasTracks tries to get back on track, financially speaking.

Four weeks ago today, the Democratic National Convention kicked off in town – and now, Denver’s post-party depression has given way to fears of a real depression. This week, it’s all about the money – yours, mine, and Joe Nacchio’s, with the former head of Qwest slated for a hearing before the U.S, Court of Appeals on September 25 to determine whether he’ll go on trial again for his past shenanigans.

Looking toward the future, and just how to get there, the folks behind FasTracks are hosting a series of status meetings on just how to make ends meet – literally – now that the cost estimates have exploded.

On September 24-25, the focus is the North Metro Environmental Impact Study; the FasTracks project is subject to the completion of all EIS plans. From there, FasTracks will be rolling out a month-long series of hearings in all fifteen Regional Transportation District districts (find the details here). "The materials costs estimates we used and the historic rates of growth in the metro region had held steady for twenty years before this recent spike in the global demand for materials and the significant drop in sales tax revenues," Cal Marsella, RTD’s general manager, insisted in an op-ed in the Rocky Mountain News last Friday. "We did, in fact, consider upturns and downturns in the economy in determining the projected rate of growth, but that trend has certainly changed, again well beyond any reputable firm or individual’s specific projection." Still, he concluded, "The region’s long-term economic health and quality of life require that FasTracks be completed."

But first, RTD will have to find someone to head the project. On Friday, September 26, Liz Rao, who’s directed FasTracks, will jump the rail for a new job in the private sector.-- Patricia Calhoun

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun