On­go­ing de­lays on A-Line sink any bonus for RTD boss

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By John Aguilar

On­go­ing de­lays on the trou­ble-plagued Univer­sity of Colorado A-Line to Den­ver In­ter­na­tional Air­port, among other is­sues, have cost the head of the Re­gional Trans­porta­tion District his bonus for 2016.

The RTD board of di­rec­tors in­formed gen­eral man­ager Dave Gen­ova in a let­ter this month that op­er­a­tional prob­lems on the ALine, which have led to the de­lay in the open­ing of the G-Line to Ar­vada and Wheat Ridge and the R-Line light-rail route in Aurora, are at the root of its de­ci­sion not to grant the per­for­mance bonus.

Gen­ova, hired in March to re­place Phil Wash­ing­ton, is paid $275,000 a year and re­ceives an au­to­matic an­nual $10,000 raise. He is also el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive a bonus up to 10 per­cent of his salary — or $27,500 — ac­cord­ing to his con­tract.

“While we know that you are busy try­ing to re­solve the is­sues, most of us feel as though we’ve not been kept in­formed of what is go­ing on, es­pe­cially re­gard­ing the de­lay in open­ing the G and R lines,” the let­ter states. “More fre­quent com­mu­ni­ca­tions to

the Board are re­quested.”

RTD spokesman Scott Reed, who was serv­ing as act­ing gen­eral man­ager Fri­day while Gen­ova is out of the coun­try, said Gen­ova agreed with the board’s de­ci­sion not to pay him the bonus.

Aside from trou­bles on the A-Line, where cross­ing gates are not open­ing and clos­ing prop­erly, the board also stated that it was not sat­is­fied with RTD’s fail­ure to im­ple­ment SmartCard tech­nol­ogy across the sys­tem, telling Gen­ova “we re­main im­pa­tient for a res­o­lu­tion.”

“Too much time and too much money has been spent on this im­ple­men­ta­tion and we look to you to con­vey strongly our sense of ur­gency on this is­sue,” the let­ter says.

The board did praise Gen­ova for aptly deal­ing with fi­nanc­ing chal­lenges, work­force short­ages and the mon­u­men­tal task of mak­ing com­muter rail a re­al­ity in the metro area. It also lauded the gen­eral man­ager for mov­ing the agency to­ward a fi­nan­cial “pay as you go” model.

“The re­al­iza­tion that RTD can­not con­tinue to ac­crue debt is im­por­tant and a pos­i­tive shift in phi­los­o­phy,” it wrote.

Over­all, Gen­ova was scored as hav­ing ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions in six cat­e­gories of re­view and “achieved ex­pec­ta­tions” in two oth­ers.

Since its April de­but, the A-Line has been be­set by prob­lems with the tim­ing of its cross­ing gates, which has ne­ces­si­tated that RTD sta­tion flag­gers to man­u­ally man­age the at-grade cross­ings un­til the prob­lem is re­solved. That has led to a de­lay in the open­ing of the G-Line, which uses the same cross­ing tech­nol­ogy. The G-Line was sup­posed to have opened this week.

Last month, RTD an­nounced that the RLine in Aurora would also shift from a 2016 open­ing to a 2017 launch.

The A-Line also suf­fered sev­eral ma­jor out­ages early in its op­er­a­tion be­cause of is­sues with its elec­tri­cal propulsion sys­tem and its sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to light­ning strikes.

On an an­nual job per­for­mance form in­cluded with the let­ter, the Gen­eral Man­ager Over­sight Com­mit­tee said RTD is ac­cus­tomed to “be­ing lauded as the leader and in­no­va­tor in the tran­sit com­mu­nity.”

“Now we are placed in the un­com­fort­able po­si­tion of hav­ing ma­jor prob­lems and all are anx­ious to learn how RTD will rise to the chal­lenge, re­spond to the set­back, pro­mot­ing lessons learned and an in­dus­try stan­dard in the process,” the com­mit­tee said.

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