Denver International Airport:

Baggage Handling, Contracting, and Other Issues

RCED-95-241FS: Published: Aug 9, 1995. Publicly Released: Aug 16, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Denver International Airport (DIA), focusing on: (1) the major events that occurred in building the DIA automated baggage-handling system; (2) whether there were any special considerations for disadvantaged businesses during the contract award process; and (3) major concerns about the construction project and their resolution.

GAO found that: (1) the city of Denver initially planned to open DIA with a conventional baggage system in order to meet the scheduled October 1993 opening date, but later decided to accept the risk associated with building an automated baggage system; (2) significant problems occurred with the construction of the baggage system, delaying DIA opening until February 1995 and costing an additional $95 million; (3) the city of Denver awarded 37 prime contracts, totalling $776 million, based on the contractors' ability to perform the work, price, and agreement to hire disadvantaged businesses; (4) the prime contractors exceeded the city's goals for hiring disadvantaged businesses between fiscal years 1990 and 1994; and (5) although most of the concerns regarding DIA have been resolved, remaining concerns include the ability to fund a rail system from downtown Denver to DIA and ongoing investigations about information disclosure to bondholders.

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