Denver’s Regional Transportation District has determined that a confidential unsolicited proposal for the North Metro Rail project has “technical merit.”

The proposal was submitted February 22 by a team led by Graham Contracting Ltd. RTD staff spent the last month conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the proposal consistent with the agency’s Unsolicited Proposals Policy. Given that RTD staff believes the proposal has technical merit, the agency plans to accelerate the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the North Metro project.

In January, RTD announced it would release an RFP in October to build North Metro up to 72nd Avenue by refinancing some of agency’s debt, issuing new sales tax bonds and using available local funds. However, given that Graham’s unsolicited proposal has technical merit, RTD plans to move up the RFP process for the North Metro Line to this summer.

“We’re very encouraged by some of the ideas in the proposal, so our goal is to get things moving as soon as possible and see how the market speaks,” said RTD General Manager Phil Washington.

RTD staff shared the information with the RTD Board of Directors at its March 26 meeting. The next step will be preparing the RFP for a summer release.

The North Metro project is an 18.5-mile electrified commuter rail line that will connect Denver and Adams County by serving Commerce City, Northglenn and Thornton.

Over the past few years, RTD has been public with its “call for innovation” to the private sector asking for solutions to help the agency complete the partially funded FasTracks projects as soon as possible. In March 2012, RTD received an unsolicited proposal from Kiewit Infrastructure for the I-225 Rail project. After a competitive process, Kiewit was awarded a contract to design and build the entire line by the end of 2015, with opening scheduled for 2016.