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Media Relations Contact:
Morgan Lyons

August 12, 2000


Voters Back Long-Term Financing for Accelerated DART Expansion

Residents in DART's 13 member cities voted overwhelmingly to allow the agency to use long-term financing to upgrade and accelerate future light rail lines to Carrollton, Farmers Branch, North Irving, South Dallas, Fair Park, Pleasant Grove and Rowlett.

"The citizens have been driving this project from the beginning and their message today is make it happen faster," DART Board Chairman Jesse Oliver said. "We have the expertise. We have the momentum. Now, we have the green light - the financial ability to accelerate the expansion and take this region to another level in improved mobility, economic opportunity and quality of life."

More than 77 percent of the 33,603 voters casting ballots in the August 12 election decided to allow DART to use long-term financing to accelerate transportation projects. In the election, 25,928 (77.16%) voted for the proposition and 7,675 (22.84%) voted against it.

Election Gives DART New Funding Tool
DART's Board of Directors called the election in June in response to requests from its member cities and the public to upgrade and accelerate DART's multi-modal transit system. Since its creation in 1983, DART rail construction has been financed in part through short-term, five-year notes and bonds backed by the one-cent local transit sales tax collected in DART's 13 member cities.

"This vote is tremendous. It gives us the energy we're going to need to meet this terrific new challenge - to speed up what is already North America's biggest rail expansion project," DART President/Executive Director Roger Snoble said. "We're ready to get to work."

Thanks to the voter approval, DART can now pursue a long-term financing strategy of issuing notes or bonds repayable in up to 30 years. Long-term financing will not raise the one-cent sales tax beyond its current level. However, it will provide DART with the cash flow it needs to enter into construction contracts earlier than planned and complete future projects an average of 4-5 years ahead of the current schedules. (See attached chart)

In addition to accelerating future rail lines to Carrollton, Farmers Branch, North Irving, South Dallas, Fair Park, Pleasant Grove and Rowlett, DART hopes to extend rail to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport eight years sooner -- in 2010, rather than 2018. Long-term financing also would be used to continue improving bus services and to speed the construction of 110 miles of high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.

Northwest, Southeast Corridors Next
DART planners are already working on preliminary engineering studies for light rail service in the Southeast Corridor from Downtown Dallas to Fair Park and Pleasant Grove and in the Northwest Corridor from Downtown Dallas to Farmers Branch, Carrollton, Irving and Las Colinas. Planners project the Southeast Corridor line with nine stations will carry 19,500 customers and the Northwest Corridor line with 18 stations will carry more than 25,000 daily riders.

Current DART Rail Construction On Schedule
DART currently is building nearly 24 miles of extensions to its four-year-old, 20-mile light rail starter system in Dallas. The 12.5-mile extension of the North Central rail line runs north from Park Lane, arriving in Richardson in summer 2002 and in Plano in summer 2003. Following existing rail right-of-way on the east side of U.S. 75, the line includes a new aerial station replacing the temporary station at Park Lane & Greenville Ave., plus eight more stations in Dallas at Walnut Hill Lane, Forest Lane and LBJ Freeway; in Richardson at Spring Valley Road, at Arapaho Road and at Galatyn Park; and in Plano at 15th Street downtown and at the East Plano Transfer Center, Archerwood St. between Park Blvd. E. and Parker Road.

Construction also continues on a separate, 11.2-mile rail extension stretching northeast from Mockingbird Station at Mockingbird Lane & North Central to White Rock Lake in fall 2001 and to Garland in fall 2002. The line includes four new stations, at White Rock Lake, East Northwest Highway near West Lawther Drive; at Skillman Road & LBJ Freeway; at Forest Lane & Jupiter Road; and in downtown Garland adjacent to the Garland Central Transit Center, Walnut St. at Fifth St.

These projects are not affected by the accelerated construction schedule or the use of long term-financing. Both projects are on time and on budget.

DART Proposal Widely Supported
The DART expansion campaign enjoyed the support of several political and business leaders including Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, who served as Honorary Chairman of the campaign. Co-Chairmen of the campaign included Dallas County Judge Lee Jackson, Collin County Judge Ron Harris, Plano Mayor Jeran Akers, Rowlett Mayor Shane Johnson, Farmers Branch Mayor Bob Phelps, Richardson Mayor Gary Slagel, Cockrell Hill Mayor Charles Slayton, Garland Mayor Jim Spence, Carrollton Mayor Mark Stokes and Addison Mayor Scott R. Wheeler. Dallas Businessman Rodger Meier served as campaign treasurer.

Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk described the election as a "Great, great day for the whole North Texas region." Richardson Mayor Gary Slagel said the victory was a "great accomplishment" for the region.

"Much of DART's success can be attributed to the strong support of our member city leaders and business and community groups," Oliver added. "We appreciate their vote of confidence in us and look forward to a long and prosperous relationship."

Business groups and civic groups backing the proposal included the Black Chamber of Commerce, Rowlett Chamber of Commerce, Dallas Convention Visitors Bureau, North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Southeast Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Greater Dallas Greater Dallas Planning Council, Northeast Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce and the Plano Chamber of Commerce Government Committee.

"This vote tells the rest of the world the Dallas region is committed to improving economic opportunities and maintaining a high quality of life through increased mobility," Snoble added.

Comparison of Projected Rail Opening Dates
Assuming the Use of Long-Term and Short-term Financing


DART Rail Corridor Long-Term Financing* Short-Term Financing

Southeast Corridor - Downtown to Pleasant Grove
Downtown to Fair Park 2006 2006
Fair Park to Buckner Blvd (Pleasant Grove Transit Center) 2007 2008

Northwest Corridor - Downtown to Carrollton
Downtown to Medical Market Center 2007 2009
Medical Market Center to Northwest Highway 2007 2010
Northwest Highway to Valley View (Farmers Branch) 2008 2012
Valley View to Frankford Rd. (North Carrollton) 2008 2013

Northwest Corridor - Northwest Hwy to DFW Airport
Northwest Highway to Las Colinas Urban Center 2009 2015
Las Colinas Urban Center to State Highway 161 2009 2017
State Highway 161 to D/FW Airport 2010 2018

Other Line Sections
Northeast - Downtown Garland to Rowlett Park & Ride 2009 2015
Central Business District - New Line through Downtown 2013 2017
South Oak Cliff - Loop 12 to LBJ Freeway (I-20) 2013 2018

* Assumes the issuance of long-term financing with maturities of up to 30 years.

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