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Friday, February 05, 2010

Transit official to announce Denver FasTracks funding

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The top transit official for President Barack Obama's administration will be in Denver Feb. 5 announcing major funding for the FasTracks project, the Denver Business Journal reports. Peter Rogoff, head of the Federal Transit Administration, is to join U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Phil Washington, the head of the Regional Transportation District, at Denver Union Station on Friday afternoon.

He may be here to talk about a $300-million federal loan to help cover the cost of redeveloping Denver Union Station, the hub of the FasTracks project. The Denver City Council last week gave its approval to using city money to repay a portion of the loan if tax revenues couldn't.

This week, three lines that are part of FasTracks received word of federal money, through Obama's budget proposal for fiscal year 2011, to help pay for construction. Obama's proposal included:

• $40 million for the West corridor from downtown to Golden, part of an existing $308 million commitment by the federal government to help pay for the line.

• $40 million for the Gold line from downtown to Wheat Ridge, and $40 million for the East line from downtown to Denver International Airport - via a line item listed as "New Full Funding Grant Agreement Funding Recommendations," which Rogoff said Tuesday, during a conference call with reporters, signaled the government's intention to help pay for the line.

The Gold and the East line are on a list of "projects that we're including in the budget, and we're signaling our intention to sign a full funding grant agreement on these projects before Sept. 30, 2011," Rogoff said Tuesday during the call.

Still outstanding is the status of the $300-million loan for Denver Union Station.

Paul Griffo, spokesman for the Federal Transit Administration, wouldn't confirm or deny that Rogoff would discuss the loan in Denver Feb. 5.