Eagle P3 is a project involving the Regional Transportation District (RTD) and Denver Transit Partners in a public-private partnership to develop commuter rail as part of the RTD FasTracks public transportation expansion plan serving the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area in Colorado.
Under the terms of Eagle P3, a private company is responsible for designing, building, partially financing, operating and maintaining (DBFOM) two commuter rail lines, the East Corridor and the Gold Line, as well as a maintenance facility for commuter rail equipment and an 8.4 kilometres (5.2 mi) segment of a third line, the Northwest Corridor. Additionally, the private company is responsible for the operation of the North Metro line and the maintenance of facilities on the Northwest Corridor line. The contract stipulates that the Regional Transportation District owns all assets involved and collects all revenues generated, while Denver Transit Partners assumes all risks involved in the project’s operation. In return, the RTD will make monthly payments to Denver Transit Partners, a total of $7.1 billion over the length of the operation. Eagle P3 is the first full DBFOM transit public-private partnership in the United States.
Private partner selection
The process of selecting the private sector company for Eagle P3 began in August 2008, when the RTD issued a request for qualifications, to which three companies responded. In September 2009, a request for proposal was sent to each company; the RTD received two technical proposals in April 2010, followed by two final proposals in May. Out of these, the RTD in June awarded the contract to Denver Transit Partners, a consortium led by Fluor Corporation and Macquarie Group, with Uberior Infrastructure Investments and Balfour Beatty as the other major partners. Macquarie Group subsequently sold its stake in the project to John Laing plc and Uberior at the financial closing of the contract. Minority partners include Alternate Concepts, Inc., Ames Construction, HDR Global Design Consultants, Hyundai-Rotem, Interfleet Technology Limited, Parsons Brinckerhoff, PBS&J, Systra and Wabtec.
The project is expected to cost about $2.1 billion, consisting largely of three sources, federal, local and private partner: Denver Transit Partners will contribute $450 million, $396 of which will come from proceeds of Private Activity Bonds and $54 million of which will come from cash equity. A federal grant of $1.03 billion, announced on 31 August 2011, and local RTD bond proceeds and sales tax revenues, plus local government matching funds, cover the remainder. Additionally, a federal loan of $280 million was announced on 2 December 2011. The involvement of a private sector company is estimated to save about $300 million in construction costs compared to estimates of the cost if the RTD were solely responsible for the project.
Eagle P3 is scheduled to be completed in two phases. Phase One includes the construction of the East Corridor and a part of the section of the Northwest Corridor included in Eagle P3, as well as the maintenance facility. Also undertaken during this phase is the design work for the Gold Corridor and the remaining part of the Northwest Corridor included in Eagle P3, the purchase of rolling stock and the electrification of trackage in Denver Union Station. The second phase of the project is the construction of the Gold and Northwest Corridors that were designed during Phase One. Construction of the East Corridor began in August 2010 and the groundbreaking for the Gold Corridor took place in August 2011. Completion of the East and Gold Corridors is expected in 2016.
On 21 October 2011, Wabtec signed a $63 million contract with Denver Transit Partners to construct the positive train control system for the Eagle P3 commuter rail lines. The contract included installation of the signaling and communications systems, a dispatch center and other management services.
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