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Cotton Belt Regional Rail Corridor

Cotton Belt
The DART 2030 Transit System Plan (TSP) identifies the Cotton Belt Corridor as a priority project with implementation in the year 2025-2030 timeframe. Given the regional desire to accelerate the segment from the DART Red Line to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) regional transportation plan, Mobility 2030, identifies this project, and possibly portions of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority's (The T) Southwest to Northeast (SW2NE) Regional Rail project, as a candidate for an alternative funding approach to design, build, operate, maintain and/or finance the corridor. To support an accelerated start date, the NCTCOG recently completed a Conceptual Engineering and Funding Study (see link below) for the Cotton Belt Corridor to identify potential funding sources and provide a starting point for future planning efforts by DART.

DART initiated a public-private partnership (PPP) effort in May 2009. On May 11, 2010 the DART Board of Directors authorized the President/Executive Director to execute the Memorandum of Understanding between Dallas Area Rapid Transit and the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) Concerning the Identification of Funding Sources to Implement Passenger Rail Service on the Cotton Belt Corridor. As a result, the RTC/NCTCOG issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) entitled "Cotton Belt Passenger Rail Corridor Innovative Finance Initiative (Planning Services)." The Cotton Belt Innovative Finance Initiative was initiated by NCTCOG in July 2010 and will be conducted in two phases. Phase One will identify a recommended funding strategy. Phase Two will be a project financing plan. More information can be found at

Based on early input during the DART PPP Request for Information, potential private partners noted that a more detailed project definition and environmental clearance would be needed before advancing the project. DART is leading this planning, preliminary engineering and environmental clearance effort. The effort will entail development of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and will include a comprehensive public and agency involvement program. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), in partnership with DART, published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register to initiate the EIS process (see below). The EIS process is anticipated to be complete in winter 2011. DART encourages the public to stay informed and participate in public meetings to be held throughout the process.

• View the NCTCOG release:
  Cotton Belt Innovative Funding Initiative Moves Forward (PDF file opens in a new window)

Meeting Presentations


Area Focus Groups

To provide project updates and obtain input on key issues in specific segments of the corridor, DART has formed four Area Focus Groups (AFGs) within the study area, based on location and needs regarding planning for rail within the corridor.

The goal of the AFG Program is to learn your views and better understand your community's specific interests, needs and concerns. AFG participants include stakeholders who will act as delegates for their oganizations and represent members of neighborhood groups, businesses, homeowners associations, educational institutions and community organizations.

The four Area Focus Groups are:
  • DFW Airport - IH 35E Area Focus Group
  • Addison - Carrollton Area Focus Group
  • North Dallas Area Focus Group
  • Richardson - Plano Area Focus Group

  • This video depicts the Cotton Belt alignment, potential alignment alternatives
    and potential station locations. (Note: there is no audio.)

    Cotton Belt Corridor Regional Rail Scoping Summary Report - January 2011

    Cotton Belt Corridor Notice of Intent

    Scoping Meetings and Comments

    The public scoping meeting was held on Thursday, July 29, 2010, at 6:30 p.m. at the Addison Conference Center, 15650 Addison Road, Addison, TX.
    An interagency scoping meeting was held on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 10 a.m. at DART Headquarters, in the Board Room, located at 1401 Pacific Avenue in Dallas, TX. Representatives of Native American tribal governments and of all federal, state, regional and local agencies that may have an interest in any aspect of the project were invited to be participating or cooperating agencies, as appropriate.

    A Scoping Summary Report will be available soon documenting the comments received during the scoping period.

    Reports and Links

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