A UNANIMOUS vote by the board of Denver's Regional Transit District on July 24 paves the way for electric multiple-units to be procured to operate the proposed East Corridor and Gold Line commuter rail routes.

Diesel traction had also been under consideration because the capital cost would initially be lower. But a staff report demonstrated that long-term operating costs would ultimately cancel out any savings in construction.

Both the 38 km East Corridor to Denver International Airport and the 18 km Gold Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge are part of the $6·2bn FasTracks expansion programme (RG 4.06 p196). RTD plans to build both lines as part of a public-private partnership under a single contract that includes a maintenance facility. The agency plans to request bids from the private sector during 2008.

US Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced on July 30 that the two routes had been approved for inclusion in the federal public-private partnership pilot. The programme will evaluate the benefits of forming partnerships and integrate risk-sharing for federally-funded transit construction projects that Peters said could lower costs, improve efficiency and accelerate completion times.