The city said this morning that continued fiscal challenges and the possibility of additional cuts to transit service prompted the decision.
The plans will lie dormant for “an undetermined amount of time.”
A number of other factors might have contributed to the suspension as well.
Vice mayor Larry Small said that the site designated for the DTS, near the now-vacant Crissey Fowler lumberyard at 25 W. Vermijo Ave. is less suitable than formerly believed.
“The deal is shelved until they can find a more suitable site,” Small said. “The site has issues with contamination, with existing railroad rights-of-way, and with land values. The people we’re negotiating with would be underwater if they sold us the site for its present value.”
This comes after the city has spent nearly $2 million in Federal Transit Administration funds in an effort to identify and purchase land for the DTS project.
A city press release noted that FTA officials were “dismayed” by the project’s delay, but “informed city staff that the now-federally approved location is eligible for construction for up to three years.”
However, federal money will not fund studies to identify a new DTS location.
The DTS project was originally slated to be paid for with $8.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding and $3.7 million in 5309 FTA grant funding.
Since the city can no longer use the grant funding, $3.7 million will be returned to the Colorado Association of Transit Agencies. The money will be redistributed to other Colorado transit agencies as it can only be used to build transit facilities.
“I didn’t want another headache,” Small said. “We’ve got enough on our plate as it is. We don’t need to spend money and staff time on this project at this time.”