Taking a Regional View of Growth
More than six million people live in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) region, and the population is expected to increase to more than 10 million by 2035. Recent U.S. Census Bureau figures confirm Dallas-Fort Worth was the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the U.S during the last decade.
Now the fourth largest and fifth most congested metro in America, DFW has the highest cost of commuting according to a 2010 Bundle.com study. And in January, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the regionís air quality is among the worst in the country.
Dallas-Fort Worth is the fifth most congested metro in the country.Traffic congestion and air quality are shared issues that the whole region must address, and transit is one tool that cities are considering to mitigate those problems.
Acknowledging that many cities cannot re-allocate the one percent of their local sales tax required to join DART, the agency is seeking greater flexibility in funding transportation alternatives.
The Trinity Railway Express linking Dallas and Fort Worth is a national model of regional collaboration.
Recently, some cities just outside the DART Service Area have begun exploring the possibility of contracting for bus service. The DART Board has now amended its policy permitting the contract of commuter rail service with non-member cities to include agreements for bus services as well.
"We must fulfill the commitments to our member cities and take a leadership role in regional transit expansion and coordination," says DART Board Chairman William Velasco. "The great need for improved mobility and cleaner air compels DART to explore ways to provide more transit services both within and outside of the current service area."
The North Central Texas Council of Government's (NCTCOG) Regional Transportation Council likewise has acknowledged the importance of expanding transit options throughout the Metroplex and has advocated the development of a 250-mile regional rail network as part of its Mobility 2035 plan.
Cities outside DART are working with the transit agency to study the feasibility of providing bus or rail services to their citizens.
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