Despite increasing problems with his brainchild, the new Denver International Airport, Transportation Secretary Federico Pena called the airport "the jewel of the national transportation system" during a visit to Denver last week.

Pena had been silent on Denver International in the last few months as problems mounted. The $4 billion airport has been delayed four times, and Denver officials have not set a new opening date. The $193 million baggage system doesn't work, and airport bonds have been downgraded to junk by one rating agency and one notch above junk by another.

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