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Media Relations Contact:
Morgan Lyons

September 27, 2000

Funding to Accelerate Service Expansion

Fast-Track Expansion Budget of $687.2 Million Approved by DART Board of Directors

Following overwhelming voter approval of Dallas Area Rapid Transit's long-term financing proposal in August, the Board of Directors has a approved a Fiscal Year 2001 budget that keeps the largest light rail expansion program in North America moving and puts DART on target to carry more than 100 million commuters in the year ahead.

The agency's total budget for the year is $687.2 million, down from the $831.2 million FY 2000 budget. The decrease is due to lower capital and debt service spending. The total DART budget includes an operating budget of $257.8 million; a capital budget of $421.8 million; and $7.6 million for net debt service.

This winter, DART opens its first subway station at Cityplace in Uptown Dallas. The newest High Occupancy Vehicle lane along I-35E/U.S. 67 will be completed in summer 2001. And in fall 2001, DART opens the new White Rock Lake Station -- the first stop on a light rail line that will link Dallas and Garland in 2002. Fall 2001 also marks the expansion of the Trinity Railway Express commuter line to serve downtown Fort Worth.

"This is a sound budget that will let us fulfill our current commitments to our customers and make great strides toward meeting the expectations of our future customers," said DART Board Chairman Jesse Oliver.

"Our expansion program will keep us very busy in Fiscal Year 2001, as we work to extend light rail to Richardson and Garland in 2002 and Plano in 2003," said DART President/Executive Director Roger Snoble. "With approval of long-term financing, we're also advancing future light rail lines to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Farmers Branch, Carrollton, Irving, Fair Park and Pleasant Grove and Rowlett. At the same time, we'll continue increasing bus service by 10 percent over the next five years."

DART's 2001 Business Plan, which details how the budget will be spent, calls for expanded service in each of DART's transit modes except Paratransit. Leading the growth will be light rail, which will triple by 2003 when the North Central and Northeast corridors are complete.

DART has set new ridership records for five straight years and projects ridership increases for the next five, primarily based on system expansion. Snoble anticipates ridership over 100 million trips in FY 2001, growing to 127 million in FY 2005.

"Our goals and strategic plans are based on satisfying the needs of three key groups: DART's customers, employees and stakeholders (taxpayers and elected officials)," Snoble said. "We're confident that we can grow 35 percent by 2005 and still maintain the high standards of quality that have gotten us where we are today."

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