Media Relations Contact:
April 27, 2006
Congress reviewing $700 million rail expansion grant
DART receives boost from U. S. Department of Transportation
The Office of Management and Budget and the Federal Transit Administration of the Department of Transportation have approved a $700 million grant application for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) that will kick-start a $2.4 billion light rail expansion, doubling the DART Rail System to 90 miles by 2013. It is expected to receive final approval by the Secretary of Transportation after Congress completes its required 60-day review of the application.
The Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) will go toward a 21-mile portion of the project running from Pleasant Grove to Farmers Branch. The first $80 million of federal funding already is included in President Bush's proposed FY 2007 budget.
Final approval of the FFGA will allow DART to begin construction this summer on a southeast rail extension linking downtown Dallas, Fair Park, South Dallas and Pleasant Grove, and a northwest extension serving the Dallas medical and market centers, Dallas Love Field Airport, Farmers Branch and Carrollton. An additional branch will serve Las Colinas Urban Center in North Irving and DFW International Airport. Service also will be extended from Garland to Rowlett.
"We're grateful to Senator Hutchison and the entire North Texas Congressional delegation for their consistent support. It's another demonstration of DART's broad region-wide support," DART Board Chairman Mark Enoch said. "Such strong backing makes all the difference in the competitive environment of federal transportation funding."
DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas said regional support and the rail system's growing reputation as a "national model" has contributed to its success in securing federal support.
"Our record for building a popular rail system on-time and under budget, coupled with $3.3 billion in private transit-oriented development, is unmatched in the transit industry," Thomas said. "Now, we're ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work on the next phase of our expansion."
Ridership on DART's bus and rail network continues to grow. For the six months ending March 31, weekday ridership on DART's bus and rail services is up 10.6% to 218,924 -- nearly 21,000 more riders a day. During that time, DART Rail averaged more than 60,000 trips each weekday.
Note to editors: Updated rail expansion maps are available for downloading in a high-resolution format at www.DART.org/newsphotos. A schedule of projected project opening dates is available at www.DART.org/expansion.
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