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ORANGE means ENERGY!
Like the vibrant color of the sun, DART's Orange Line will bring new energy, vitality and change to the region with links to important business centers, medical facilities, higher education, exciting new transit villages and the worldís third-busiest airport.
Operationally, the Orange Line and Green Line will share the same tracks from Dallas' Central Business District, all the way to Bachman Station where they split and the Orange Line heads northwest into North Irving. This line will allow commuters to hop a train in downtown Dallas and ultimately ride all the way to DFW Airport.
Keeping on track
The Orange Line and a Blue Line extension scheduled to serve Rowlett in 2012 are being carefully reviewed due to higher-than-anticipated construction costs identified at the 10% design phase - an early point in the development of rail projects. The cost differential is being attributed in part to a worldwide shortage of construction materials and services.
"This is not related to DART or Dallas or North Texas. This is an international event, and it impacts many of the materials we use including concrete, steel and copper," says DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas.
Earlier this year, DART officials laid out alternatives to address the additional $764 million estimated for the two projects. The plan was to reduce the costs of the two projects through engineering changes and funding the remaining costs through a combination of additional cash and issuance of more than $300 million in additional debt. In a move to further reduce costs of future rail expansion projects, officials also are exploring the use of public-private partnerships to build, operate and maintain parts of future rail lines.
"(Rising costs) are not related to DART or Dallas or North Texas. This is an international event, and it impacts many of the materials we use including concrete, steel and copper."
Gary Thomas, DART
"Fortunately, our process allows us to anticipate significant challenges very early," says Thomas. "This affords us an opportunity to examine the projects from multiple perspectives and mitigate thoughtfully. However, because of the increased demand for rail transit in our region, we are reviewing process improvements to more accurately reflect estimated costs even earlier in the planning and development stages."
Throughout the review, business and civic leaders in both Irving and Rowlett stressed the importance of maintaining construction schedules for the Orange and Blue Line projects, especially in light of impressive plans for transit-oriented developments.
"We are advocates for DART. We are advocates for public transit. We've invested a lot of ourselves and our energy, in addition to our money...," Irving Mayor Herbert Gears told DART Board members during a Jan. 8 meeting. "We'll maintain the integrity of this partnership (with DART) so we can have it arrive on time and intact. We're open to solutions that make a difference and make it work for our community."
Irving officials said plans for live-work-play, mixed-use projects surrounding DART Orange Line rail stations now top $4 billion in private investment.
"We've gone out to the world promoting this transit-oriented development (TOD) idea. Our Las Colinas project will be the largest TOD in the United States. High-density residential wasn't originally planned for the Urban Center, but we added it due to DART," Gears said.
Rowlett Mayor John Harper echoed his community's commitment to DART - and his city's desire for a timely completion. "The city has counted on DART for economic development. We all want cleaner air; we all want less traffic congestion. Keep the scope as promised," he said.
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Ready for Rail
State legislators and DART Board members attend a briefing on the City of Irving's plans for transit-oriented development at DARTís Orange Line rail stations.
Entertainment will be the focus at Las Colinas Live, a $400 million, 40-acre project with a major performance venue, boutique hotel, club, residential housing, spa, cinema, restaurants and retail.
Water Street, a $300 million, 13-acre mixed-use project on the shores of Lake Carolyn, will have 300,000 square feet of retail, more than 1,000 residential units, a 110-room hotel and 20,000 square feet of office space.
Both projects will feature colorful, pedestrian-friendly promenades and streetscapes with easy access to the Las Colinas Area Personal Transit System and DART Rail.
Irving is also working with private development partners on a 400-acre, $2 billion Crossroads DFW project for the Texas Stadium site when the Dallas Cowboys depart after the 2008 season.
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