A veteran Regional Transportation District project manager who oversaw the recent completion of the new West Light Rail Line from Denver to Golden will return to the North Metro Rail Line, a construction project slated to begin next year.

Jim Starling, who originally oversaw the development of the North Metro project during the environmental planning process, was appointed project manager of the West Line in 2009 following the untimely death of his colleague and predecessor, Dennis Cole, who died on June 26, 2009.

During the grand opening of the W Line last week, RTD General Manager Phil Washington recognized Starling publicly and thanked him for his service.

“We appreciate how Jim stepped in when we needed him most,” Washington said. “We have a deep bench at RTD. It reflects how our employees are groomed and ready to serve when called upon.”

Rick Clarke, RTD assistant general manager of capital programs, echoed Washington’s sentiments in acknowledging the role Starling will play in the continued expansion of passenger rail across the Denver metro region.

“We knew Jim would be a tremendous asset to the West Corridor project, now we will rely on his considerable expertise to oversee the construction of the long-awaited North Metro Line,” Clarke said.

The West Rail project, now the W Line from Denver to Golden, is the first FasTracks rail project to be completed and opened – eight months ahead of the original schedule.

Starling will now turn his attention to completion of the North Metro Line, an 18.5-mile-long commuter rail line that will run from Denver Union Station through Commerce City, Northglenn and Thornton to 162nd Avenue in Adams County. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2014.

Starling has more than 20 years of transportation experience and had managed several construction projects for RTD before being assigned as the North Metro project manager in 2006. He served as light-rail engineering manager on the Transportation Expansion Project, or T-REX; served as project manager on the Central Platte Valley Spur to Denver Union Station; and helped manage construction of the Southwest Light Rail Line.