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DENVER-Four firms have lined up to submit proposals to build a high-speed “air train” between downtown Denver and the Denver International Airport. The train is expected to cost as much as $400 million to build and could be the catalyst for hundreds of millions of dollars–if not billions–of development along the route.The city will be picking a team to finance, design, build and maybe even operate a 23-mile route stretching from behind Denver’s Union Station to the airport. The Regional Transportation District will kick in about $7 million and the city, about $2.5 million.

There already is a four-story park-n-ride bus station at the former Stapleton International Airport, which is undergoing a $4 billion redevelopment by Forest City. That leg of the project ultimately will connect the Stapleton redevelopment, the bus system and air train.The prospects are Pittsburgh-based Air Rail Construction, led by Adtranz DaimlerChrysler–formerly a part of Westinghouse, which has designed and installed the airport’s underground train system; Denver East Corridor Rail Group LLC, headed by Denver real estate investor Doug Jones, who has been trying to get backing for an air train for five years; Denver Transit Alliance, headed by Morrison Knudsen Construction and Kiewit Western, which includes a team of engineers and finance partners; and Denver Front Range Railroad Co., led by Marla Sue Gordon of Denver.

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