Voters approved a four-tenths of one cent increase in taxes in November 2004 to pay for the FasTracks project.
RTD blames the budget problems on a huge increase in construction costs and lower revenue from sales taxes.
The cost for the project has gone up from $4.7 billion, as promised to voters, to $6.1 billion.
To deal with the budget increase, RTD says it wants to use alternative public-private financing, rein in costs, and make cuts to some of the lines. However, RTD says FasTracks will be virtually the same.
We're dealing with the cards that we were dealt. We can't change that. Those are market conditions," said Cal Marsella, RTD general manager. "What we're doing is market innovating to bring the program back in and deliver it as promised to the voters."
Critics, who predicted the program would cost voters more, are now saying, "I told you so."
"This program was under-funded from the very beginning. The financial model they used was flawed and it was used to sell us a bill of goods," said Jon Caldara with the Independence Institute.
"It's a shame the voters bought the lie of FasTracks," he said. "What's really sad is a lot of people are going to get hurt and it's too bad that Denver, after the debacle at DIA, will be known for another debacle known as FasTracks. It will be Denver's 'Big Dig.'"
Marsella says the west corridor light rail in Jefferson County will take the biggest hit because of the budget issues. They plan to only put a single track into that area, instead of two. RTD says it hopes to add the second track later if the line is popular.
"We don't want to impact the functionality of the corridors, but where we can make changes, but still protect the original integrity of the plan, we're going to do that," said Marsella. "I don't have all those nailed down yet, but it will happen in every single corridor."
The RTD board of directors will review the plan to rein in the escalating costs at a meeting on Saturday morning.
"I think the voters should realize that the market conditions that hit us after we went to the ballot, no one could predict. No one came to us and said, 'Hey you're way low on inflation.' It had been pretty steady for a 20-year period."
FasTracks is still on schedule to be finished in 2017.