RTD still can’t finish testing the G Line, despite clearance from the feds

The G Line connects Union Station with Arvada and Wheat Ridge, and we have no idea when it will open.

RTD's G Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge. (RTD)
RTD's G Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge. (RTD)
RTD’s G Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge. (RTD)

The Federal Railroad Administration gave conditional approval Thursday to the Regional Transportation District to do final testing on the G Line, which connects Union Station with Arvada and Wheat Ridge.

However, the RTD can’t actually do this testing because it also needs the approval of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission — which denied said approval last month.

RTD spokesman Nate Currey said the transit agency is still waiting for a written ruling so that it can fully understand the reasons for the denial and how to approach an appeal.

However, Currey said RTD still considers the federal approval a positive sign.

“The federal side of it is largely complete now, which is a huge step,” he said. “All of these decisions point to we’ve gotten to where we need to be. The PUC needs to re-evaluate it and they’re the next step.”

So we still don’t have a good timeline for when the G Line can open to the public.

The G Line uses the same technology as the beleaguered A Line, where flaggers have been stationed at crossings, and requires two to three months of full-scale testing before the line can open. The G Line has 16 at-grade crossings over 11 miles.

The federal approval includes 20 conditions, such as submitting a plan for review at least 10 days before the proposed beginning of testing, providing training for crew members and notifying the FRA of any changes to software or hardware being used along the line.

In a separate decision, the FRA said the RTD could discontinue the use of flaggers at one B Line crossing on private property. Because it is a private crossing, the PUC does not have jurisdiction.

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.