DENVER—Bill Sirois describes the first four months of 2007 in his office as “chaotic.” The regional transit authority where he works as a senior manager had just learned that they were $1.5 billion over budget on a light-rail system that they had promised to deliver within a decade. Three years earlier, Colorado voters had approved a high-profile ballot measure to raise $4.7 billion through sales taxes to build the train system called FasTracks. Now the costs were projected to run well over $6 billion.

The money from available tax revenues might allow the rail network to be finished by 2042, internal analysts told the Regional Transportation District (RTD).

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